Hen welfare charity rallies MPs to support UK egg production

Posted 24th November 2009 12:02pm by

PRESS RELEASE – 24-11-2009

As part of its effort to improve the lives of laying hens, the Battery Hen Welfare Trust is encouraging the government to allow consumers to make an informed choice when buying food and at the same time to support the British egg industry.

In anticipation of the proposed EU directive banning conventional battery cages and the introduction of an enriched cage system in 2012, the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, in collaboration with South-West MP Colin Breed, has tabled two Early Day Motions (EDMs). The EDMs call for clear labelling of the production method used on all products containing eggs or egg derivatives, widely used in processed foods. This would allow consumers to distinguish egg products from hens housed in the enriched cage system which offers improved hen welfare, from those produced from the battery cage system which will continue to be used outside of the EU. The EDMs will also help to support British farmers who have invested in the enriched cage system and will help deter manufacturers from importing cheap battery eggs from
overseas.

Jane Howorth, Chief Executive of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, which works with farmers to improve the welfare of caged birds and educates the public about the benefits of buying eggs from improved welfare systems, said: “The purpose of our campaign is to improve life for laying hens, wherever they happen to be caged. Processed food can contain eggs in all forms and many consumers are simply not aware that the egg products they are eating may come from caged battery hens in, for example India or China.”

Recently placed 82nd in a Country Life ranking of the people with most influence on those who live in the countryside, coming just two places behind David Cameron, Jane Howorth is well known for her pro-British egg industry stance. The Country Life article describes the Battery Hen Welfare Trust as one “which educates the public about the egg industry in a remarkably sensible and non-hysterical way”.

Jane said: “It is important that British farmers who are investing in the equipment to convert to the enriched cage system are supported by the government, the retailers and the public. Clear labelling will help the public to give British farmers – and the humble laying hen – their backing.”

Details of the EDMs can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

EDM 239: LABELLING OF SHELL EGGS PRODUCED BY HENS IN ENRICHED CAGE SYSTEM
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=39782&SESSION=903

and

EDM 234: PRODUCTION METHOD LABELLING ON PROCESSED FOODS CONTAINING EGG AND EGG DERIVATIVES
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=39777&SESSION=903

To find out more or to support the work of the British Hen Welfare Trust please email info@bhwt.org.uk, log on to www.bhwt.org.uk or tel: 01884 860084.