AUSTRALIA - Canberra has become the first jurisdiction in Australia where Woolworths will no longer sell caged eggs.
ABC reports that the RSPCA has welcomed the change from the supermarket giant, which said it would extend the policy to all its stores by 2018.
But other animal welfare groups in the ACT were less impressed by Woolworths' move.
RSPCA Australia humane food marketing manager Hope Bertram said the supermarket's ACT-wide switch to only stock cage-free eggs was another step forward for the welfare of Australian hens.
"Consumers are increasingly concerned about animal welfare and have long been asking for higher welfare products on Australian supermarket shelves," said Ms Bertram.
"As Woolworths works towards completing their 2018 commitment to no longer stock any cartons of cage eggs across their Australian stores, the RSPCA is looking forward to this switch occurring nationwide."
Animal Liberation ACT said although it was good to see retailers considering animal welfare more carefully, Woolworths' move was a double-edged sword.
Spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said many free range hens still led a "miserable life".
Ms Drew said there was very little evidence that regulations for the keeping of free range hens were enforced.
"In most cases... the hens are stuck in sheds, and the sheds aren't cleaned," she said.
"The lives of these so-called free range hens are no better than the caged hens they are supposed to replace."
Ms Drew said the best way for consumers to ensure that no hens were harmed was avoid eggs altogether.
Woolworths' move came after the ACT Government passed legislation earlier this year banning the use of battery cages and sow pens.
There are still 11 million hens confined to cages in Australia without the ability to express natural behaviours, according to the RSPCA.
The association has urged consumers to push for more goods on supermarket shelves that are produced with high levels of animal welfare in mind.
In 2012 Woolworths' primary rival Coles stopped selling Coles-brand cage-eggs.ThePoultrySite News Desk