Animal rights activists are urging New Zealanders not to race to buy chickens in response to a nationwide egg shortage as many supermarket shelves are empty two weeks after the battery cage ban.

Cages are considered harmful to the health and welfare of birds and will be banned from January 1, 2023. In 2012, when 86% of laying hens were kept on battery systems, the government’s pledge to ban them was withdrawn. By December 2022, that number had dropped to 10%.

But egg producers are still short of hundreds of thousands of birds to meet market demand, and it could take months to resolve the chicken-and-egg dilemma.

Supermarket shopping restrictions and empty shelves seem to have awakened dreams of backyard farming. According to the SPCA, anyone considering raising chickens should be committed to a herd of at least three animals (chickens are social birds), clean chicken coops, adequate space, veterinary care and provide good quality food and water. Owners must also comply with local regulations and permits for keeping different chickens across the country.

According to the Ministry of Primary Industries, New Zealand has 3.9 million hens for egg production. Exports for the year to June 2022 were valued at around NZ$18 million (£9 million), but according to the New Zealand Egg Producers Federation website, retail sales of eggs are estimated at NZ$286 million.

Chicken egg producers have warned of egg shortages despite announcing a 10-year ban, and some animal rights activists have warned that the European Union plans to end cage farming entirely by 2027. New Zealand law still allows for colony cages, which hold about 60 chickens and give the birds more space than a battery pen.

The Egg Producers Federation told staff earlier this month that retailers’ phasing out of colony-cage eggs was the main reason for the current shortage, and that it would take months to raise more chickens to breeding age.

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling the ads blocker and whitelist the site.