Change for cage plan

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY - By JON MOR­GAN

The aim of eas­ing the bur­den on shop­pers of ris­ing egg prices is be­hind pro­pos­als to change the pace of the phase-out of bat­tery hen cages.

The National An­i­mal Wel­fare Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee says the fi­nal date of the end of 2022 for re­mov­ing all cages will not change.

But it wants to ex­tend the tran­si­tion stages within that time frame be­cause of fears that egg prices will rise sharply if the changeover is too abrupt.

Com­mit­tee chair­man John Hell­strom said an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment sug­gested a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant’’ dis­rup­tion in the sup­ply of eggs was ‘‘al­most in­evitable’’ if the first tran­si­tion step of De­cem­ber 31, 2016, re­mained.

‘‘In the short term it would mean eggs were less af­ford­able, es­pe­cially for low-in­come con­sumers for whom eggs rep­re­sent an im­por­tant source of high­qual­ity pro­tein.’’

The com­mit­tee was com­mit­ted to get­ting layer hens out of bat­tery cages, Hell­strom said.

‘‘What’s chang­ing are the steps farm­ers take to get there. The changes will make it eas­ier for farm­ers to adopt the new hous­ing sys­tems while min­imis­ing mar­ket dis­rup­tions.’’

The com­mit­tee is seek­ing pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the pro­posed changes to the Layer Hens Code of Wel­fare 2012. They are: Cages in­stalled be­fore De­cem­ber 31, 1999, to be re­placed by De­cem­ber 31, 2018.

Cages in­stalled be­fore De­cem­ber 31, 2001, to be re­placed by De­cem­ber 31, 2020.

Other pro­posed changes that will also help farm­ers in­volve stock­ing den­sity in barns and fit­ting of claw­short­en­ing de­vices in cages.

END IN SIGHT: Plan to slow end of bat­tery eggs.

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