You’re probably all well aware of the supermarkets who have recently pledged to go cage-free – first Aldi, then Tesco, Iceland and Morrisons.
From 2025 onwards millions more laying hens will be enjoying a lifestyle out of cages. Although we would, of course, like to see the transition happen a lot sooner than 2025.
Patron, Jamie Oliver, helped us take a huge step forward in 2008 when he put the spotlight on the British poultry industry. We received 4,000 calls within one week. Then Lucy Gavaghan, the 14-year-old phenomenon who received more than 280,000 signatures on her Tesco petition, used social media to raise the profile of hen welfare and helped persuade some of these supermarkets to go cage-free. And for that we wholeheartedly congratulate her. You can find a short interview with Lucy here.
There is definitely a sea change taking place. The industry has been talking about moves away from caged egg production for months. It now seems viable that within 10 – 15 years the majority of hens in the UK will be free range. A small percentage will be kept in a barn environment. However, let’s remember that 60% of caged eggs are used within the processed food sector and leisure industry (restaurants etc). It is vital that hens laying eggs for these sectors are also given the chance to enjoy life outside.
The egg industry here in the UK is being influenced by the fact that America is now waking up to the free range issue. It is anticipated many of the 150 million caged hens in the US will also be free range by 2025. Global brands including Walmart, Burger King, Subway and Nestle are just some of the brands to have made this change. We believed this will filter down to hens laying across the world.
Current developments represent a massive collective achievement. This has involved consumers, campaigners and individuals such as Lucy, all of whom have the welfare of the laying hen at heart.
We salute everyone who has helped to make a difference – it’s all for the girls.