January 29, 2023

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The lack of eggs is prompting New Zealanders to rush to buy their own chickens


Hong Kong
CNN

Egg prices have skyrocketed around the world over the past year as bird flu has wiped out chickens herds and fallout from Russia’s war with Ukraine Raise the prices of energy and animal feed.

in the United States of AmericaEgg prices far outpaced the increase in other groceries, rising nearly 60% in the 12 months through December compared to a year earlier. in JapanWholesale prices have reached a record high.

In New Zealand, which consumes more eggs per capita than most countries, the pressure has been exacerbated by the change in farming regulations. Rising costs have sparked a frenzy, as people search for chicken online so they can secure their own supply from the base store.

On Tuesday, popular local auction site Trade Me told CNN that searches for chickens, and equipment related to their care, are up 190% so far this month, compared to the same period a month ago.

“Since the beginning of January, we’ve seen over 65,000 searches for chickens and other chicken-related items, such as feeders, cages, and food,” said Millie Sylvester, a spokeswoman for the company.

shortage too It caused a particularly severe headache for the country’s bakers.

“Now all the people are trying to buy chickens to take home because they can’t get eggs,” said Ron Van Til, owner of a bakery near Christchurch. Who is the Had to adjust the way cake and cupcakes were made.

Van Til said his sister has been selling “four brand new chickens” at auction through Trade Me, fetching more than double the usual price.

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This trend has led animal welfare advocates to warn against impulse buying.

“Chickens live a long time,” said Gabe Cleese, CEO of the SPCA in New Zealand. “They live eight to 10 years, sometimes longer depending on the breed.”

Cleese also noted that chickens do not produce eggs throughout their lives, and their egg-laying habits depend on factors including age and the local climate.

So if people get chicken just because [they think] They’ll have a permanent supply of eggs, which isn’t the case,” she said. “We’re asking people to consider them as companion animals, which they are.”

Trade Me also urged customers on its marketplace to consider any purchases.

“It is important that our members are aware of the responsibilities that come with owning chickens, and that they are well equipped to care for them,” Sylvester said in a statement.

Health experts are weighing, also. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone who shares a backyard coop should take special care when handling the animals and their eggs, particularly because of the risks of germs associated with salmonella.

New Zealand’s egg shortage has been linked to the long-anticipated change to the Farming Act, which took effect on January 1 this year.

The law prohibits the production of eggs from chickens kept in traditional “cages” or “batteries” – usually cramped metal spaces that do not provide adequate welfare for the chickens, to me SPCA.

For this reason, in 2012 the government announced a ban on such facilities.

Peter Hyde, a representative for New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries, told CNN in a statement when asked about the current shortage.

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“Egg producers had the option to move into colony cages, barns and free-range systems,” added Hyde, the agency’s national director of animal welfare and compliance for National Animal Identification and Tracing.

Over the past 18 months, Hyde said, the ministry has been “in regular contact with operators, visiting farms that need to relocate”.

However, even over the long period of time, the embargo has created supply snags, according to some companies.

New Zealand supermarket chain Foodstuffs has placed temporary limits on the number of eggs each customer can buy.

“This is an important change for the egg supply industry,” Emma Wooster, the company’s head of public relations, told CNN in a statement. “We are working with egg suppliers to increase our supply in other types of eggs.”

Countdown, another major grocery retailer, said that while there are currently no restrictions on egg sales, it will encourage customers to “buy only what they need” to ensure an adequate supply for everyone.

Other companies have been forced to switch things up.

Van Til, the bakery’s owner, said his team has substituted fresh eggs in recipes for alternative ingredients.

The longtime owner of Rangiora Bakery has seen wholesale prices for fresh eggs rise about 50% compared to four months ago, prompting him to buy more dried eggs instead.

Van Til also pointed to changes at other local restaurants, saying that some cafes have begun removing certain dishes from their menus, so “instead of having five items for breakfast [with] Two eggs, you may only have two.”

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“And hopefully, the customer will pick up the pancakes or waffles,” he added. Or any other offers you come up with.