A devastating fire at New Zealand’s largest egg farm has resulted in the loss of approximately 50,000 hens, causing concern over a potential exacerbation of the national egg shortage.
This report follows the news of a massive fire that destroyed a U.S. manufacturing plant on the same day.
The fire broke out at a Zeagold farm on Monday morning and took several hours to be contained, according to a company spokesperson.
Twelve workers on site were reported unharmed but deeply disturbed by the incident.
The company initially estimated that around 75,000 hens had died but later revised the number to 50,000.
An assessment is underway to determine the exact number of fatalities.
The impact of the fire could extend beyond the loss of the hens and potentially exacerbate the already existing nationwide egg shortage.
New Zealand has experienced a shortage of eggs since the beginning of the year, largely due to the ban on battery farming.
This ban had been in the making since 2012 and, over time, battery hens accounted for only 10% of total egg production.
Despite the gradual decrease, the ban’s implementation in January caused significant disruption to the egg supply chain, resulting in empty supermarket shelves, limited tray purchases, and disappointment for breakfast enthusiasts.
The egg shortage has become a contentious issue.
A small-town supermarket was forced to ban a cruise ship crew from buying more eggs after they wiped out their stock.
In response, newspapers have provided guidance on egg-free baking and alternative breakfast options like tofu scrambles.
The SPCA also issued an advisory in January, cautioning New Zealanders against impulsive purchases of backyard chickens, due to worries that inexperienced owners might not provide proper care.
Prior to the Zeagolds fire, farmers predicted that they would need to raise an additional 300,000 hens before the shortage could be resolved.
In the United States, a similar crisis is unfolding.
In the past two years, the price of eggs has doubled, and multiple egg farms have burned down in massive fires.
Since President Biden took office, over 100 food processing plants have experienced unexplained explosions, resulting in millions of livestock losses.
Concerns have also been raised about commercial chicken feed potentially preventing hens from laying eggs.
Are these incidents that have occurred at facilities crucial to the seamless operation of the worldwide supply chain merely coincidences, or could there be something more to the story?