Monday, 29 November 2021

Taiwan revised official guidelines for cage-free Eggs transition

02 July 2021 | News

The guidelines have legal effect, making them mandatory for any eggs labelled with the terms 'free range', 'barn', or 'enriched cage'.

Image source: east.org.tw

Image source: east.org.tw

Taiwan has revised its official guidelines for laying hen welfare for the first time since they were introduced in 2015. The changes deliver substantial animal welfare improvements for laying hens raised in free-range and barn systems, as well as those kept in enriched cages, and were made following formal representations by EAST.

The guidelines have legal effect, making them mandatory for any eggs labelled with the terms 'free range', 'barn', or 'enriched cage'.

Chief among the changes is an increase in the amount of space cage-free farms will need to provide for each hen. Free range and barn systems must now provide at least one square meter of space per 10 birds, up from one square meter per 12 birds.

The updated guidelines also ban the practice of forced moulting (which sees hens deprived of food for up to two weeks to stimulate egg production), specify nest box materials, perch design, and range shelter size, and require farms provide segregated areas for sick or injured hens.

"The updated regulations are a vote of confidence in Taiwan's cage-free transition" exclaimed Yu-Min Chen, Deputy Chief Executive of EAST, praising the authorities for responding to growing consumer concern for farmed animal welfare.

The revisions to the official guidelines are expected to affect around 10% of Taiwan's 40 million laying hens. The upgrade comes soon after authorities announced a reduction in interest rates for farmers investing in cage-free systems as part of the government's low-interest loan scheme.

In April, luxury hotel group LDC Hotels & Resorts debuted a series of Mother's Day cakes made using exclusively cage-free eggs. In May, Taiwan's largest retailer PX Mart unveiled designated cage-free zones in 600 of its supermarkets across Taiwan.

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