Perhaps to be able to export more eggs to California, Taiwan has banned battery cages in duck farms. It has now banned these cages specifically for ducks after it banned them for hens in 2016.
Ducks in battery cages, even the enhanced ones, are unable to perform natural behaviours, such as scratching, foraging, and nesting, and the wire cages can cause physical harm, including foot disorders and open lesions.
According to the animal protection organization Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST), Taiwan’s duck egg industry, composed of 400 duck farms, is valued at more than $60 million. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture states there are about 2.16 million egg-laying ducks kept captive in these farms.
Yu-Min Chen, EAST’s deputy chief executive, said: “We applaud the authorities for taking action to end the horrific abuse of ducks in cages.”
Although most ducks are not housed in battery cages in the country (currently only around 60 farms), there has been an increasing trend to use such cages. Therefore, this ban, which went into effect on 30th December 2021, is very timely as will prevent this practice to spread.
Many ducks are kept in farms around the world in terrible conditions. A recent exposé about the suffering of ducks in Indonesian egg farms showed ducks confined in tiny cages constantly getting trampled by other ducks and being roughly handled by workers. And we should not forget that ducks are also the targets of many shooters around the world.
More than half of the duck eggs produced in Taiwan are exported to the US, the vast majority to California, but on 1st January 2022, this state’s Farm Animal Confinement Initiative (Prop 12) was enacted, which makes it illegal to sell eggs from birds that had been kept in battery cages. This may have been the trigger that led to the Taiwanese ban. It’s good to see that some countries are starting to apply some basic protection for ducks as they don’t deserve less attention than hens, but if this is just to be able to sell more eggs, the result will be more ducks being exploited, which is no good. Only the total ban of breeding ducks, keeping them in captivity for commercial purposes, and shooting them in the wild, are the good news many vegans are hoping for.