SPCA says Craddock Farms colony cage farm should not be built
Wednesday, 25 November, 2015
SPCA New Zealand says the proposed Craddock Farms colony cage chicken farm in Patumahoe, South Auckland, should not be built because keeping chickens in cages is unethical and inhumane.
Like SPCAs around the world, SPCA New Zealand opposes the use of battery and colony cages for chickens. Some European countries have banned cages and some major supermarket chains refuse to take eggs from farms where chickens are caged.
The proposed farm would confine 310,000 layer hens in colony cages.
“Colony cages are very similar to the old battery cages. Colony cages are bigger but they contain more chickens. So the amount of space per animal is still very small – about the size of an A4 piece of paper,” says Ric Odom, CEO of SPCA New Zealand.
“This means the chickens can’t perform any of their normal behaviours. They can’t walk about or stretch their wings. They never breathe fresh air or feel the sun on their backs. In short, all they can do is eat pellets and lay eggs. It’s a miserable existence by any standards.”
SPCA New Zealand, animal welfare activists, and the local community opposed resource consent for the Craddock Farms colony cage operation in late 2014. Auckland Council denied resource consent in January 2015 on the basis of potential “significant adverse odour effects” emanating from the farm.
Craddock Farms made adjustments to its original application to mitigate the odour problem and appealed Auckland Council’s decision in February. The appeal will be heard in the Environment Court on Thursday 26 November 2015.
“SPCA New Zealand opposes Craddock Farms’ appeal because we oppose the intensified industrialised farming of animals and farming animals in cages,” says Ric Odom.
“We have always opposed the farming of animals in cages because we believe it is unethical and inhumane. Cages do not meet the physical, health, and behavioural needs of the animals.
“Humane farming requires a high standard of welfare for the animals. Well run barn and free-range chicken farms provide higher standards of welfare compared with cages. Well-designed cage-free systems, with perches, nest boxes, and floor litter allow chickens to perform their natural behaviours, which provides them with a better quality of life.
“SPCA New Zealand supports an increasing number of free range layer and broiler chicken farms in New Zealand through our Blue Tick accreditation programme. Farms that meet the SPCA welfare standard have the right to display our Blue Tick logo and are regularly assessed by our third party auditors AsureQuality, including spot checks to ensure that they are meeting our high animal welfare standards.
“The proposed Craddock Farms colony cage facility would not meet these standards because the 310,000 chickens at the farm would be confined in cages.”