Cage-free eggs campaign
Making cages a thing of the past
“FAMOUS BRANDS, UNCAGE YOUR EGGS!”
In an effort to eradicate inhumane battery cage farms for hens, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) – a multi-faith environmental NGO – has launched a public campaign urging restaurant giant, Famous Brands to commit to go “cage-free” for all its hens and their eggs by 2025. The campaign was kicked-off with a petition earlier this month.
SAFCEI’s campaign lead, Mandla Gqamlana says that popular SA restaurants in the Famous Brands group – such as Wimpy, Mugg&Bean, Steers, and House of Coffees, among others – will be targeted. The goal, adds Gqamlana, is to ensure that the sourcing of cage-free eggs forms part of the group’s policy, for all franchisees.
Gqamlana says, “Battery cage farming subjects hens to unnecessary cruelty, distress, discomfort and extreme pain. The hens spend their entire lives in a wire box the size of an A4 paper and never see sunlight or take a breath of fresh air. They end up suffering from diseases, feather loss and broken bones, as a result of being confined in these cages. This is the life of hens that produce the eggs that we, the consumer, end up eating.”
Hens lay egg after egg with no space to spread their wings, nest, walk or perch. In addition to this completely unnatural environment, the hens’ laying cycles are also manipulated through starvation, to increase production. Furthermore, in South Africa it is also standard practice to de-beak hens.
“We have engaged Famous Brands management team since last year, but they have only given a number of excuses for not being able to make the transition. However, we cannot accept this. If McDonalds South Africa can commit to going cage-free, why can’t they?”
“Think about Wimpy, for example, which currently has 478 stores around the country. Can you imagine the amount of eggs consumed every year? And, if we are what we eat, how can we expect our nation to happy from eggs that are produced with such violence?”
“While the organisation cites integrity, innovation and quality as some of its core beliefs, and also pride themselves on their supplier relationships, Famous Brands is yet to use its influence to ensure humane animal welfare standards – which will provide the quality of food its consumers deserve.”
In its code of ethics, the organisation acknowledges its responsibility toward the environment and claims to be “committed to minimising adverse environmental impacts and seeking opportunities to improve performance.” Famous Brands also claims to value ethical leadership – which should anticipate and prevent any negative consequences its activities could have on the environment.
In addition to the unhealthy situation for the animals, battery farming also poses a number of risks to human health, contributing to an increase in Salmonella-infected eggs. Battery cage farms also cause air and water pollution. On the other hand, ethical farming practices means healthier hens and better quality eggs, and since it also requires more manpower, it will create more jobs.
“SAFCEI is challenging Famous Brands to leverage its influence in its supply chain and demand ethically farmed produce, such as hens that are cage-free. Our commitment is inspired by diverse faith teachings. We view animal welfare and care for nature as an expression of each person’s faith.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
1. Watch this VIDEO to see just how battery farmed eggs are produced. SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
3. SHARE OUR CAMPAIGN POSTERS BELOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
4. TAG WIMPY AND MUGG AND BEAN IN YOUR Facebook POSTS @WimpySA and @MuggandBeanSA
Why should hens be cage-free?
The Humane Society reports that, on average, each caged laying hen is afforded less space than a single sheet of A4-sized paper on which to live her entire life. Unable even to spread their wings, caged laying hens are among the most intensively confined animals in agriculture. Numerous scientists and other experts have spoken clearly about these problems with battery cages.
Our campaign calls for the end the use of cages for egg-laying hens. Cage-free systems improve the lives of hens significantly and cause less harm to them and the environment.
SAFCEI is working towards the total eradication of battery cages for laying hens in Southern Africa. We are requesting all in the food industry to commit to transitioning to cage-free eggs as soon as possible but by no later than 2025.
The road we’ve travelled so far
On 14th November 2016, McDonald’s South Africa announced that it would implement a cage-free policy when it came to sourcing their eggs, and transition to a 100% cage-free supply chain by 2025. This comes after continued efforts of SAFCEI and other animal welfare organisations to engage McDonald’s South Africa on this.
Frank Molteno SAFCEI chairperson and volunteer said:
“SAFCEI welcomes McDonald’s announcement with thankfulness. We congratulate McDonald’s on realising that this is the way of the future as more and more people of faith grasp that compassion can know no bounds because we all – all creatures – have the same source.”
At the same time, we are mindful of the terror, pain and suffering of the hens who will continue to lay McDonald’s’ eggs over the next 8 or 9 years as per McDonald’s’ timeline. Having ‘under-promised’ on the pace at which they can make the transition to cage-free eggs, we encourage McDonald’s to ‘over-deliver’ and beat their target of 2025 by as many years as possible.”
Globally, cage-free pledges from around 100 companies are going to spare about 60 million hens annually from battery cage confinement, and we are committed to saving more.
We wouldn’t be able to help build this movement for animals without the help of dedicated activists like our Fast Action Network (FAN). The FAN is a group of dedicated online activists who spend only a few minutes of their time each week, to help SAFCEI campaign for the welfare of animals.