JAKARTA—Humane Society International recently hosted Indonesia’s first corporate animal welfare roundtable, bringing together leading food service, restaurant and hospitality companies to discuss the global movement towards higher animal welfare supply chains, specifically with respect to cage-free eggs. Public concern for egg-laying hen welfare has increased tremendously in recent years, and in response, food industry leaders in Asia and around the globe have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs.
The roundtable, which took place on April 5th at Le Méridien Jakarta hotel in Jakarta, included among its speakers the head of the Southern Branch of the Vietnamese Department of Livestock Production, Do Huu Phuong, who presented on the Vietnam livestock production sector’s new and growing focus on animal welfare. Sodexo, one of the largest food service companies in the world, spoke on its global cage-free egg commitment and the steps the company is taking to complete this transition by 2025, including in Indonesia and throughout Asia. HSI presented on the scientific basis for cage-free egg production, the global trend towards higher animal welfare products, and its partnerships with companies and governments to successfully transition to cage-free egg supply chains and practices.
The roundtable was attended by representatives from Asian food and hospitality companies, both those that already have cage-free egg procurement policies, and those interested in adopting the policy, as well as officials from the Indonesian government and representatives from the Indonesian Veterinary Medical Association.
Dawn Neo, HSI corporate outreach manager for farm animals, said: “We’re thrilled to host Indonesia’s first corporate animal welfare roundtable and bring together forward-thinking companies that are committed to higher animal welfare standards in their supply chains. Humane Society International’s mission calls not only for the improved treatment of animals, but for the support of companies as they implement animal welfare policies, and for greater collaboration among various stakeholders. We want to help ensure that companies have all of the tools and resources they need to make a cage-free future for laying hens a reality.”
Roshith Rajan, Sodexo’s director of corporate responsibility for Asia Pacific, said: “When Sodexo made a worldwide commitment to source cage-free eggs a couple of years ago, we were the first in our sector to do so, in support of responsible and sustainable business practices. Today, it is heartening to see more than 200 companies from across industries joining the cage-free movement in making commitments and demonstrating where the market is headed. As a company that provides Quality of Life services to millions every day, we aspire to create a better tomorrow for everyone.”
In Asia and around the world, egg-laying hens spend their entire lives confined in wire battery cages, so small that they cannot even fully spread their wings. Science confirms what common sense tells us: the lack of space and restriction of movement is detrimental to the physical health of these animals and causes enormous frustration and suffering. Fortunately, the world is moving towards higher welfare cage-free production systems. The use of conventional battery cages for laying hens is banned or being phased out under laws or regulations throughout the EU, in five U.S. states, in New Zealand, Bhutan and in the Australian Capital Territory. Officials in the majority of states in India, the world’s third largest egg producer, have declared that the use of battery cages violates the country’s animal welfare legislation, and the country is debating a national ban. Dozens of food and hospitality industry leaders including in Asia, such as Sodexo, Compass Group, Accor and Hilton, among others, have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs.