First it was the coffee, and now the eggs.
Parliament's cafe has cracked under the pressure of Green Party lobbying and customer feedback for cage-free eggs.
Epicure, an Australian-based catering firm which feeds MPs, political staff and journalists at Parliament, has been serving cage-free eggs at all hospitality functions on site.
It boasted of being "at the forefront of ethically responsible catering" and claimed to "never use cage-reared eggs".
But Green MP Mojo Mathers insisted the policy was not being applied at Copperfields Cafe, where the daily breakfast run for many who work at Parliament includes eggs.
Epicure has admitted it was not serving cage-free eggs at Copperfields, even though its menus elsewhere said cage-reared eggs were "incredibly inhumane".
Epicure's national manager of venues and events Robert Clifford said the company regularly reviewed its food sourcing activities and that it would implement free range eggs in Copperfield Cafe from July 23, 2012.
A spokeswoman said the change had nothing to do with pressure from the Green Party but was rather in response to what customers wanted.
Mathers said MPs and parliamentary staff cared about the treatment of animals.
"I know that they will support Epicure moving to only using cruelty-free eggs produced without using cages," she said.
The move follows a minor revolt at the cafe last week over coffee price hikes. After just three days at the higher prices, Copperfields returned to their old rates.
Mathers, meanwhile, called for Agriculture Minister David Carter to implement a cage-free welfare code nationwide.
Carter has received a proposed new layer hen code of welfare from the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, but is yet to announce his position.
Mathers said the code was widely believed to include a plan to phase out battery cages but allow for colony cages instead.
"Consumers are rightfully rejecting eggs produced in these cruel ways and so we should be working with our industries to help them innovate and make meaningful change."
Carter said there was no time-frame on his response. He reserved a dig at the Green Party saying: "I suggest there are probably more important issues the Greens could be considering than whether the Parliament cafe uses cage-free eggs or not."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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