Farmers angry from Woolies caged eggs decision

Farmers angry from Woolies caged eggs decision

Woolworths has also committed to no longer using caged eggs as an ingredient in their home brand products and to label the chicken stocking density on Woolworths brand free range eggs.

But Victorian Farmers' Federation egg group president Brian Ahmed says the move will be costly for farmers and is upsetting for the egg industry.

"We have invested in new cage systems that meet industry requirements and now, five years later, they want to ban cages with no compensation for farmers," Mr Ahmed said.

Mr Ahmed said farmers would be forced to change their systems to continue to be a part of the egg industry.

"These cage farmers have not had enough time to get a return on their investment on upgrading their cage systems. It will be very costly for them," he said.

Mr Ahmed said it was important to give consumers choice and free range eggs may be unaffordable for some.

"We want to all go free range but it's costly. They are going to take away a good protein source from consumers that can't afford it," he said.

He said that free range chickens were more vulnerable to disease and had higher mortality rates as their environments could not be controlled.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White said the decision was a win for animals and consumer power.

"Hens have been paying a terrible price for cheaper eggs. It's terrific that Woolworths has acknowledged this and taken an historic ethical stand on this issue," Ms White said.

"We would hope that other retailers match this commitment so that this move sees the beginning of the end of battery cages in this country."

Woolies also will move to ensure all fresh chicken products comply with RSPCA or similar standards within that timeline.

The changes follow the announcement of a partnership with celebrity chef and healthy food campaigner Jamie Oliver.

The partnership will focus on giving shoppers the information and confidence to prepare fresh meals at home, Woolworths said in a statement.

For the original article from The Australian click here.