Egg Laying Hens | Let's go Cage Free
~ 2016 ~
In Indonesia, the issue of animal welfare is still outside the government's priority. This is not separated from the speciesism perspective that is broadly accepted. Animals are only seen as functional creatures that can be treated as they please to fulfill human interests.
As a country with a population of 237.4 million and still growing, the food policy of the Indonesian government is to intensify capital-intensive and applied manufacturing technology to handle livestock. From the process of eggs hatch to low-productive hens slaughtered use mechanical methods in the name of efficiency to maximize profits.
In 2016 AFJ began running the Farm Animal Welfare campaign with a focus on Egg-Lying Hen. Through polls targeting households and medium-scale food businesses, they do not know yet how chickens suffer from intensive systems of laying hens in Indonesia, and will continue to consume chicken eggs because they are considered a cheap source of protein. At the level of big busines, the correspondence that AFJ did with big business representative in Indonesia such as Sodexo and Accor Hotels Group, they claimed that they were not aware of the company's global policy to leave eggs produced in battery cages.
At the level of small-scale farmers (500-75,000 laying hens) that AFJ meet, they generally do not know about livestock systems other than battery-cage, because from the beginning this method was taught by poultry companies from the start of starting a business.
From the data gathered, the expansion of the chicken farm industry (layer and meat stock) will continue to be carried out in Indonesia. Starting in 2014 Indonesia experienced a surplus of chicken and egg production and began to export Japan, Malaysia, Timor Leste and the Philippines. Between 2015 and 2017, the growth of chicken meat and egg exports by 2.824 percent with export destinations includes Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, East Timor, Qatar, India, PNG, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Philippines and South Korea (news link here and here).
In 2018, the capacity of the chicken industry, both laying and broiler, for grand parent chickens (GP) reaches 800 thousand to 900 thousand birds per year, breeding parent stock (PS) 33 million to 39 million head per year and full stock (FS) Daily Old Chicken (DOC) reaches 4.5 billion birds per year or 87 million heads per week (source).
Have you ever guessed where the eggs you ate came from? The cheap protein source that business people are proud of in every publicity turned out to be a cruel fact. Egg-producing hens are imprisoned in battery cages, spending their lives for 1.5 years there then being slaughtered as cheap chicken meat.
Scientific facts about the system of laying hens have been widely released to the public, but business people also do not want to change their policies regarding laying hens. You can learn the facts about the cruelty of the chicken egg industry from this document.
Is this a fair thing, we get cheap eggs and meat at the expense of other creatures' lives?
At present AFJ in partnership with Sinergia Animal and Open Wing Alliance run campaigns in Indonesia asking food companies to release Cage-Free Eggs Policy. If big business start choose animal welfare, then the farmers would like to change their system. It will be take long time for victories.
But as consumers, we can do something without having to wait for the government's real actions. Here are some things we can do to help laying hens get better welfare conditions.
- Convey your objection to egg producers or suppliers in your city, that you do not buy if the eggs they sell come from the battery cage
- Buy eggs from chickens that are kept around your house, so you can make sure the hens live in free conditions. Don't trust free-range chicken eggs on the market. AFJ's investigation reveal that free-range chicken eggs or telur ayam kampung was now produced in the same battery cage system.
- Big business consumers urge that they immediately switch to using eggs from non-battery cages. One of them is by supporting a petition to McDonald Indonesia below