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Saying no to caged eggs

Hilton Adelaide, will put the chicken before the egg to become the first South Australian business to register as an RSPCA Choose Wisely advocate.

‘Choose Wisely’ is an innovative campaign that aims to rid Australia’s hospitality industry of caged eggs.

Australians eat three billion eggs every year of which 72% come from hens housed in battery cages.

The Hilton uses over 320,000 cage-free eggs each year and is renowned for its animal welfare ethos.

“When I took over the Executive Chef position at Hilton Adelaide one of the first projects I embarked on was to gradually change the hotel to free range eggs,” said Hilton Adelaide executive chef, Simon Bryant.

Like many other South Australian restaurants The Brasserie at the Hilton already uses cage free eggs and has joined the campaign at a silver level meaning all egg containing food items made on the premises are cage free.

Now, the RSPCA is strongly encouraging other businesses to follow the award winning restaurants’ lead and register.

“We found passionate free range producers Jon and Leanne from Cleland Gully eggs at Mt Compass, said Bryant. “At first I was worried that they couldn’t keep up with our volumes (with 850 meals served in the hotel everyday we use a lot of eggs), so we started slowly by changing breakfast menus over to free range, then dinner and finally pastry departments.”

The project took three years.

“I have never bought caged eggs for home and The Brasserie showcases local, sustainable food producers so the decision seemed to make perfect sense.

“I believe that as a chef you have some responsibility about what you serve, if you have ever been to a battery chicken operation and been bothered by the conditions the animals are subjected to you have a moral obligation to pay a bit more: to me it’s an ethics tax and I am happy to pay it.

“Having said this if you are eating a simple dish where the egg is the hero like a caesar salad there is absolutely no comparison between battery and free range in flavour so it really is an issue of flavour.”

The RSPCA has long condemned battery egg farms. The practice sees hens living in cages smaller than an A4 piece of paper; unable to walk, socialise, flap their wings or dust bathe; all of which are important natural hen behaviors.

After living for a year in these tiny cages, their egg ‘supply’ begins to dwindle and they are put down. It is a cruel and unnecessary way of sourcing eggs.

The RSPCA hopes that the combination of consumers buying free range eggs and choosing to eat at accredited restaurants will see a substantial drop in the demand for caged eggs nationwide.

Restaurants, cafes, hotels, take-away establishments; any business that serves free range eggs is able to apply for a gold, silver or bronze level accreditation, depending on how many of their products contain cage free eggs.

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