Count­down de­fends cage-free move

Nelson Mail - - BUSINESS - RACHEL CLAYTON

Count­down says it’s the only su­per­mar­ket chain that will go en­tirely cage free for its own egg brands by 2022.

An­i­mal rights char­ity Safe ac­cused Count­down’s par­ent com­pany, Wool­worths, of re­fus­ing to phase out cage eggs in its Count­down su­per­mar­kets.

Wool­worths was com­mit­ted to phas­ing out all cage eggs in its Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets by 2025, but in New Zealand its Count­down stores were only com­mit­ted to phas­ing out its own brand of bat­tery and colony cage eggs by 2022.

But Count­down spokesman James Walker said the com­pany ques­tioned why Safe was fo­cused on Count­down when all na­tional su­per­mar­ket chains sold free range, barn and caged eggs.

Walker said Count­down was the only na­tional su­per­mar­ket chain plan­ning to stop sell­ing both colony caged or bat­tery caged eggs of its own brand by 2022.

Wool­worths’ Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets were also com­mit­ted to no longer us­ing cage eggs as an in­gre­di­ent in its Home Brand prod­ucts, and to la­belling the stock­ing den­sity on Wool­worths Select free-range eggs.

Un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s Layer Hens Code of Wel­fare, farm­ers must stop pro­duc­ing eggs us­ing tra­di­tional bat­tery cages by 2022.

But hens would still be able to be kept in larger cages known as colony cages, which meet the re­quire­ments of the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act, but were con­tro­ver­sial and may or may not give hens out­door ac­cess. Colony cages were big­ger, typ­i­cally hous­ing be­tween 40 and 60 birds, and in­cluded a nest­ing area, perches and a scratch­ing area.

Food­stuffs, which owns the New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square chains, has not used caged eggs for its Pams brand for al­most 10 years but still stocks caged eggs from other sup­pli­ers.

Food­stuffs’ other home brand of eggs, Value, would go bat­tery cage free by 2022 but the com­pany had not an­nounced if Value would be colony free.

Safe head of cam­paigns Mandy Carter said Count­down’s com­mit­ment was not enough and would take too long, after a Fe­bru­ary Hori­zon poll found 74 per cent of shop­pers would sup­port Count­down if it phased out sell­ing caged eggs.

A News­room in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed mil­lions of Palace Poul­try free-range eggs sold at Count­down may have been laid by caged hens. The is­sue was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice.

Safe has cam­paigned for a year to make Count­down go cage-free.

‘‘Wool­worths has lis­tened to their Aussie cus­tomers by com­mit­ting to go­ing cage-free, but they are turn­ing a deaf ear to car­ing Ki­wis want­ing to end hen cru­elty,’’ Carter said.

Count­down was treat­ing Ki­wis as sec­ond rate cus­tomers, she said.

PHOTO: JASON DORDAY/FAIRFAX NZ

Ac­tor Aidee Walker is the face of a new Safe ad­vert urg­ing Count­down to stop stock­ing all caged eggs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.