Vietnam joins other Southeast Asian countries in the movement to promote cage-free eggs with the opening of the country’s first cage-free barn.
Most of the more than 8 billion eggs produced in Viet Nam each year are laid by hens raised in wire mesh battery cages, which are so small that the hens cannot even stretch their wings.
According to Le Van Hoa, director of Nam Huong, the future is cage-free. Nam Huong is a medium-sized egg farmer based in Tien Giang, one of the Mekong Delta provinces, about 150 km west of Ho Chi Minh City. Its current capacity is 700,000 laying hens producing around 200 million battery eggs per year. After visits to cage-free operations in the UK, technical workshops, lessons from 14 years of battery cage production and growing consumer demand, Hoa is establishing one of the first commercial facilities without cage.
Hoa said the transition to a cage-free system could be a good path for his business: “Vietnam is one of the region’s fast growing economic countries. I have seen the cage-free egg movement grow in our neighboring countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Consumer concerns about animal welfare are growing and I expect Nam Huong to be one of the first producers in Vietnam to switch to cage-free housing.
In 2019, Vietnam had 77.07 million hens that laid 8.2 billion eggs, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. There are thousands of egg farmers in the country, with different sizes of production.
The transition to cageless requires investment and specialist management, and with technical support from Humane Society International, Nam Huong is converting two original battery houses to cageless cages. This first project will free 3,000 laying hens in the first year.
HSI congratulates Nam Huong on this transition to stricter animal welfare practices. Unlike battery cages, the cage-free housing allows hens to roam freely and express their natural behavior, such as dustbathing, nesting, perching, and scratching in loose litter.
Hang Le, Head of Farm Animal Welfare, HSI in Vietnam, said, “With the movement of producers, like Nam Huong, HSI urges individual consumers and the food industry to consider the welfare of farmers. farm animals when buying or sourcing eggs. By supporting cage-free producers, consumers can lead Viet Nam’s egg industry to a more humane way of farming ”.
HSI has worked to protect animals, including farm animals, in Vietnam since 2013 and worked with the Department of Animal Production to endorse humane practices for farm animals in the Livestock Law that came into effect. into force in 2020. The new law is an important vehicle. to improve the lives of farm animals in Vietnam.
Mr. Nguyen Duc Trong, Deputy Director of Animal Production Department of Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “The cage-free egg production system is a scientific and superior alternative to animal welfare. . Nam Huong is one of the first egg producers in Vietnam to implement humane processing in animal production, Article 69 of Vietnamese Livestock Law.
“We welcome pioneers like Nam Huong to this transition. We urge businesses and consumers to join with us in supporting the activities of agribusiness companies and individual producers who are leaders in the implementation of the law to fit into the growing trend in the world. “