In a new move for animal rights and sustainability, Aussie battery caged eggs will be phased out by 2036. Here’s why and what it means for you.
The updated government poultry standards mean that a range of changes will begin unfolding as of this year – starting with chicken cages requiring nest areas. Other changes rolling out this year include providing hens with access to a scratch area and perches. The end goal will be an end to caged eggs entirely, which will be beneficial for achieving the following:
- Reduced emissions and pollution
- Better conditions for chickens: Free-range chickens are able to roam with more space, as opposed to be cramped in unhygienic, uncomfortable cages – some of which cause painful bone fractures. Considering chickens are social, playful and emotionally intelligent birds, it’s no wonder many succumb to anxiety and depression when locked up.
- Fewer diseases: The chickens are at higher risk of disease in crowded cages, which can also affect food safety. It also means they’re consuming a lot more antibiotics, which again, is not so great for us when it comes to antibiotic-resistant strains. This resistance is exacerbated by overuse of antibiotics – and other antimicrobial medication – and in Australia alone, these resistant microbes are predicted to cause over 10, 000 deaths between 2015 and 2050.
Nutritional profile of eggs – caged vs free range
Iron: Eggs are packed with iron, an essential mineral which supports our blood, lungs and heart. It’s also a vital element of growth and muscle repair. If you’re lacking in this nutrient, you’ll probably notice headaches, cold hands and fatigue. Luckily, eggs boast around 13% of our daily needs in just one, making it a quick, easy snack for a burst of nutrition.
Protein: This muscle-repairing nutrient has been found to promote weight loss and balance our blood-sugar levels. But even better yet, it manages our satiety hormones – meaning no more midnight chocolate cravings. Eggs pack in 30% of our daily protein needs in just one egg, and they’re also a complete protein source, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids.
Healthy fats: Eggs are packed with healthy fats like omega 3 and monounsaturated fats, which studies have found to help balance blood sugars, prevent insulin resistance andkeep us fuller for longer, along with being found to decrease appetite and curb sugar cravings. Plus, omega 3 is a known brain-booster, improving mental clarity, mood regulation and memory function. These fats also assist with keeping your hormones regulated; another important aspect of hunger regulation.
Vitamin B12: One egg has around a quarter of our daily B12 needs, which is essential for forming red blood cells, along with playing a role in brain and nerve cell development. It’s also important for our energy levels and warding off fatigue, so you won’t want to sleep on this nutrient!
Here’s where free range and caged eggs come into the nutritional profile of eggs – free range eggs tend to be higher in these nutrients due to better conditions for the chickens, which are conducive to better health.
Caged eggs, on the other hand, tend to be higher in antibiotics, as infections and diseases are more widespread in the cramped conditions of battery cages – so phasing this practice out isn't just good for animal welfare, but for your health too. Consuming antibiotics can fuel antibiotic-resistant disease strains, which are wreaking havoc around the globe with over 1.2 million deaths attributed to these microbes in 2019 alone. So, it’s not looking like such a bad idea to give caged-egg farming the slip!
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