Animal rights advocates on Friday protested at the branches of famed restaurant chain Din Tai Fung in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義), urging restaurant management to curb the use of battery cage eggs.
The Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST), a member of the Open Wing Alliance (OWA) — a coalition comprised of 70 animal rights groups from 40 countries — staged the protest along with other 17 animal rights groups from 13 countries.
EAST director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) said that battery cage eggs are produced by hens kept in battery cages that are the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
Unlike free-range chickens, hens kept in battery cages cannot take sand baths, which allows parasites to be removed from their body, Chen said, adding that fipronil, an insecticide, must then be used because of the chickens’ inability to clean themselves.
“The European Union officially banned battery cage eggs in 2012, and Din Tai Fung’s London branch has been exclusively using free range eggs since its establishment this year,” she said.
Chen said that her organization has been attempting to communicate with Din Tai Fung in Taiwan for nearly two years, but to no avail.
Amy Odene, global corporate relations coordinator at The Humane League, said that, following a protest, US branches promised to phase out battery cage eggs by the end of this year. The original deadline was 2025.
“It was the first protest in the US, and it succeeded,” Chen said.
That victory demonstrates that Din Tai Fung headquarters understands the growing global awareness of animal welfare, she said.
If it switches to free-range eggs, Din Tai Fung could be a driver for farmers to raise chickens in a more humane way, she added.
Din Tai Fung public relations officer Wu Yi-jung (吳怡蓉) said that the brand is licensed out to overseas markets. The international branches’ management teams choose ingredients based on local cultures, needs and availability.
Wu said that eggs used by Ding Tai Fung in Taiwan are in compliance with the legal regulations set by the government.
Evaluations are still being made as to when to completely phase out the use of caged chicken eggs, she said.
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