Let’s start with the term cage-free – what does it mean? The description has been thrown around more times than we’ve had hot, free range eggy breakfasts, but it seems there is still much misunderstanding about what it actually means for laying hens.
All the major supermarkets have pledged to go ‘cage-free’ by 2025, which means thousands more hens will be taken permanently out of their cages. But ‘cage-free’ does not mean hens will be free range.
Barn systems, where laying hens are kept within large enclosed barns with no access outdoors, account for just 2% of the egg market (Defra, for year to September 2016). Tesco has stated specifically that it will look to source eggs from both barn and caged systems from 2025, so it is important that people know just where their shell eggs – and eggs in processed foods – are coming from.
While a well-run barn system can provide an environment that allows more natural behaviours than a caged system, the charity’s main aim remains ‘for a free range future’ where all laying hens live in small commercial flocks and have access outdoors.
Many household brands have committed to being ‘cage-free’ within the next few years, but we would like to see them commit to a free range future. If JD Wetherspoon, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s can successfully commit to free range, we believe everyone can – if they have the will.
So, in order to continue working towards our vision ‘for a free range future’ we are re-igniting our Free Range Campaign, and we invite our supporters to join us.
As well as continuing to lobby Mr Kipling, who astonishingly reneged on his free range commitment, we’ve also added a few other household brands and we want you to help us by writing, tweeting and Facebooking until these household names acknowledge that the people who eat their products care about animal welfare. When you take part in our campaign make sure you hashtag #BHWTfreerangecampaign wherever you leave a comment.
If you’re as passionate about hens as we are and want to enjoy food containing free range eggs, check the labels of each and every processed food you buy. As a general rule, if it doesn’t state free range egg, it’s not free range egg.
We've compiled a guide revealing all the big brands' egg policies, so you can take a look before you next head out for dinner or grab a bite to eat on the go.
Together, we can achieve a free range future.
We need your support in asking Millie’s Cookies ‘for a free range future!’
Join us in asking Mr Kipling to change his ways and use solely free range eggs in his 'exceedingly good' cakes.