Most Canadians say politicians’ stance on farm animal welfare would affect their vote, says new poll

December 28, 2010

According to a recent Harris/Decima poll commissioned by the VHS, and funded by the Vancouver Foundation, 71% of Canadians said they are concerned about the humane treatment of farm animals and two-thirds (65%) said a political candidate’s stance on farm animal welfare practices would factor into their voting decision.

The poll zeroed in on attitudes about eggs and laying hens. After learning about the differences between eggs from hens confined in battery cages and those from cage-free farms, three in five Canadians (57%) indicated they oppose the use of (battery) cages, and 68% would support a legislated ban on cages for their province, up 5% since 2009’s poll.

Battery cages are used in the production of 97% of Canada’s eggs. Science has proven that hens suffer in cages. With five to seven hens per cage, they deny hens the ability to engage in any of their natural behaviours, such as nesting, wing‐flapping or dust bathing. Despite the cruelty of cages, the poll shows that half (51%) of Canadians buy white eggs from caged hens.

“Most people don’t realize regular white eggs come from factory farms,” said Leanne McConnachie, Director of Farm Animal Programs for the VHS. “In fact, one-third (32%) of respondents wrongly believed that 5-24% of eggs in Canada come from cage-free hens when only 3% are cage-free. Fortunately in BC, where we have focused our ChickenOUT! campaign, 15% of provincial egg production will soon be cage-free. We’d like other provinces to follow suit.”