A new guidebook on the commercial-scale production of cage-free eggs has been released in Malaysia this month in coordination with local egg producers and industry groups. The release follows the book’s publication in China last month by China Agriculture Press, that country’s largest publisher of agriculture-related books. The book, titled Commercial Cage-Free Egg Production, was written by Mutzu Huang of Shanghai-based consultancy group Lever China. It was released in Southeast Asia this month in English, Filipino, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Malaysian and Thai language editions by the non-profit Lever Foundation in coordination with egg producers and industry groups.
Its publication comes amid an upswing of interest in cage-free eggs from consumers, food companies and producers. Over 120 leading food companies have set timelines for using only cage-free eggs in their supply chains in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia-based companies such as OldTown White Coffee and Hatten Hotels Group, as well as international brands active in the region including Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Costco, Marks&Spencer and Pret A Manger.
“With the increase in demand from both the corporate and consumer sides, we wanted to ensure that egg producers have the tools to prepare their farms for the shift to cage-free production,” noted author Mutzu Huang. “The book is a science-driven but highly practical guide that producers can follow to produce cage-free eggs at a large scale while attending to animal welfare, food safety and price considerations.” Commercial Cage-Free Egg Production covers air quality, ventilation control, bedding and behavior management, chick rearing, lighting, intestinal health, and other important elements of commercial cage-free production.
“The simple thought of the hens having the freedom to behave in a cage-free environment will bring a smile to many consumers—and ourselves,” said Cindy Lee, Sales and Marketing Director at Malaysia-based egg company Fornix Foodstuffs, which is in the process of launching its first cage-free egg line after working with Lever Foundation.
“We firmly believe that happy hens lay healthy eggs. Cramped in small cages, hens become nothing more than egg-laying machines. When I bring customers to visit my farm, they can immediately tell the difference and are happy to see the hens free-ranging in the garden,” added Tan Leng Yee, Managing Director at LK Fresh.
“At Permagreen Farms, we believe in the power of regenerative farming, which translates into how we care for our chickens and other livestock. More than 50% of eggs in the UK, Europe and Australia are now cage-free and we see the same awareness picking up in Malaysia as technological solutions make it more accessible to the general public and many organizations are announcing their commitment to go cage-free within the next few years. The cage-free movement is an ethical revolution of how humanity can be better stewards of nature and Permagreen Farms is proud to be part of this revolution,” commented Stefanie Yan, Director of Permagreen Farm Sdn Bhd.
Consumer demand to shift away from caged egg production is increasing across Southeast Asia. Researchers at the Department of Agribusiness at Universiti Putra Malaysia found that 86% of Malaysian consumers want more “green” food products, with 91% saying such foods must be produced without unnecessary animal suffering.