Organic eggs (OR)
Organic eggs must be produced by free-range hens and flock size is restricted. However, organic only refers to the food the hens are fed which must be free of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers and antibiotics. It doesn't mean higher welfare standards.
There is no standard definition for free-range egg production in New Zealand meaning the production method can problematic for the welfare of the hens. Read the free-range section of this website to find out more.
Some organically fed hens are beak-trimmed, depending on the certification standards applied. This means they have had their beaks trimmed off with a laser as a chick. This is done because hens get frustrated when kept in large numbers. They take this frustration out on other hens by pecking them. This can turn into cannibalism.
Organically fed hens are killed at 18 months old and are typically used for pet food. At that age, hens lay less and produce eggs that have thinner shells, which affects profitability. (Video credit: Tamara Kenneally).
Male chicks born into the egg industry have no use as they don't lay eggs and they are not used for meat production New Zealand. The egg industry kills over three million day-old male chicks every year by gassing or instantaneous fragmentation (minced alive at a high speed).