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  • Writer's pictureVAWA

Better chickens & eggs, everyone!

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Australia New Zealand Better Chicken Commitment

VAWA is delighted to be a signatory on the Australia New Zealand Better Chicken Commitment! This work was led by Animals Aotearoa, and once implemented means New Zealanders can look forward to higher welfare standards for meat chickens.

"Over 100 million chickens are farmed for meat in New Zealand each year. Modern chicken breeds grow too quickly, resulting in painful health problems. The Better Chicken Commitment is an opportunity for food businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and ethical food production." - RNZSPCA July 2022

Rapidly growing meat chickens suffer from painful conditions that are usually a direct result of their breed and incredible speed of growth. The BCC advocates for the introduction of slower-growing, healthier breeds of chicken into New Zealand, meaning they have better welfare.

It also seeks to improve the living conditions for chickens so that they have appropriate lighting, enough space, and effective and suitable enrichment material that allows for a range of their favorite behaviours - things like scratching, foraging, pecking and dust-bathing.

"There is a European Better Chicken Commitment and now the Australia-New Zealand Better Chicken Commitment. These commitments vary slightly depending on region, but share the same basic requirements:

  1. Firstly, and most importantly, a shift to healthier more natural breeds of chickens.

  2. A much lower stocking density which gives chickens more space inside the sheds.

  3. Improvements to chickens’ environment, including natural light, perches to rest on and objects to play with.

  4. Less handling and stress at slaughter.

  5. Public accountability and transparency through reporting."

It's a great move for the welfare of meat chickens in Aoteaora New Zealand. Well done, everyone!

Other Egg News

VAWA has joined many other organisations who oppose the caging of layer hens and are calling for consistent and clear labelling.

SPCA, World Animal Protection, the New Zealand Animal Law Association, HUHA, Aotearoa Liberation League and Animals Aotearoa cosigned an open letter this week to call for correct labelling on eggs.

There are many views within this group about animals and their use, but these organisations all agree that:

1. Colony cages do not meet the animal welfare needs of hens.

2. Labelling of eggs and reporting on how hens are kept in egg production systems must be accurate.

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