L-R: Olumide Adekunle (IT Director & Publicity), Representative from Tribune Newspapers, Mr. Joseph Odika (Executive Director - APON), Representative from the Nation newspapers, Adebayo Olugbenga Abayomi (COO APON & Campaign Leader)
The entire board of trustees and management of Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria, on this day, 8th of September, 2021, hereby officially release a press statement in view of our project tagged: CORPORATE AND INSTITUTIONAL CAGE-FREE CAMPAIGNS IN NIGERIA. Animal welfare in Nigeria is a subject that is often overlooked. It’s a complex situation that needs everyone urgent attention. Not government alone!
This project (cage-free) is intent to eradicate the suffering of laying hens, raised in battery cages and alleviate the potentials of Nigerians consuming unsafe food continually. Battery cages, which are predominant in Nigeria, house several million laying hens, raised mostly for egg production and partly for meat consumption. Businesses generate huge revenue from eggs and meat which they constantly produce, year in year out. Yet, the welfare conditions of these birds look so bad.
How bad? In a battery cage system, a hen is only allowed a space less than the size of an A 4 paper (less than 600cm) throughout her entire life. They are stacked together in a confined space where natural behaviours (spreading wings, perching, dust bathing, foraging and nestling) are impossible. Due to this small confinement, many of these birds suffer limb damages, death before maturity, diseases and carnivorous behaviours (they attack each other), to say the least.
This is extreme cruelty and the time has come to call for the abolishment of this archaic farming system which the world is gradually ditching – Nigeria should follow-suit and not left behind.
Apart from the suffering laying hens encounter, poultry farm is a factor promoting climate change and global warming through mass emissions of GHG (greenhouse gas emissions). Methane(CH4) is expelled in large quantity from chicken compost which constantly, with combination with other GHG-Emission like carbon and fluorinated oxide affect climate and trigger global warming. Agriculture is the highest contributor of anthropogenic methane emissions with livestock (battery cages, cattle rearing, pig rearing etc) contributing to largest methane source.
Through cages, humans health is at risk as eggs can easily get contaminated with Salmonella and E.coli bacteria. Some of these birds can also take this bacteria to slaughter houses. How to mitigate these challenges: First and foremost, corporate engagements with brands who buy eggs for their production is eminent to influence cage-free policy in egg supply chain. This will further inform suppliers to change to an improved animal welfare farming system which guarantees food safety for consumers – like organic farms. Secondly, consumer education to create awareness for the public about the dangers of consuming unsafe food and leaving them with better food alternative options. Engagement with key stakeholders in the industry to create consultative forums towards an objective decision to transit to a free range poultry system is also part of our action plan. We understand this change will take a while due to the severity of the situation, but we will not relent in our efforts to ensure there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Animal Protection Organization of Nigeria seizes this moment to appreciate the huge support from Centre for Effective Altruism, who provide the capital through its EA Animal Welfare Fund to power this project.