Coles will stop selling its Coles Brand pork, ham and bacon products from pigs that are kept in two metres long and 60 centimetre wide stalls, as well as Coles Brand caged eggs in the New Year – a commitment the company made in 2010.

The company said 34,000 mother pigs will no longer be kept in stalls for long periods of their lives and 350,000 hens will be freed from cages.

These major animal welfare initiatives are a response to demand from customers for more responsibly sourced products

“Our customers told us that they want quality food which is responsibly sourced and great value. We have listened carefully to this message and worked tirelessly with our suppliers over the last two years to make the investments and changes required,” John Durkan, Coles merchandise director, said.

“These are not changes that can be made overnight. New sheds and even new farms producing exclusively for Coles have been built to make sure we can deliver the welfare commitments we made to our customer two years ago.

“But we will not only meet our commitments, we’ve gone further and faster on fresh pork so that from the New Year no pig destined for Coles Brand will spend time in a sow stall. This is a whole year earlier than we thought we could do this. And we’ve kept our promise on caged eggs which will have no place in Coles Brand from January.

“This is the right thing to do for customers and I’m proud of the work our farmers and suppliers have done to help achieve it.”

This announcement also coincides with a major campaign launch by Animals Australia to raise awareness of intensive or factory farming.

“Australian consumers are increasingly concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food and believe that they too should be provided with quality of life and protection from cruel treatment,” Lyn White, campaign director at Animals Australia, said.

“t is terrific that Coles has acknowledged their ability to positively influence the lives of animals in Australia and is working productively with producers to provide positive outcomes.”