The egg industry
Looking to learn more about the egg industry? Making a difference to hen welfare means we need to listen to the farmers and learn more about why they farm as they do.
What is your stance on the egg industry?
We are proud to say we are staunch supporters of the British egg industry; welfare in the UK is amongst the highest in the world and our great British farmers are willing to listen to consumer concerns on welfare.
Making a difference to hen welfare means we need to listen to the farmers too and learn more about why they farm as they do. The hens we want to help are intrinsically linked to the farmer who keeps them. In order to help the hens we need to understand what makes the farmers tick, why they keep hens in certain systems and learn how we can help make a positive difference.
Farmers keep hens to make a living and the UK egg industry is worth billions of pounds each year. They operate within a global market place and we currently import eggs from several countries within the EU and import egg derivatives from countries outside the EU.
Farmers respond to consumer demand and for decades consumers have put cost above welfare, which has led to millions of hens laying cheap eggs for us in cages.
Our whole ethos is based on positive campaigning and as a result of our pioneering work increasing numbers of consumers now want high welfare as well as high quality. Our positive impact has helped free-range production grow into one of the most successful sectors of British agriculture and nearly half of all British laying hens now have access outdoors.
This supportive relationship between farmer and consumer can be illustrated well by one example. Hellmann’s mayonnaise used to contain eggs from caged hens, but following our positive campaign asking the company to produce a higher welfare alternative, Hellmann’s now uses eggs from free-range hens in its mayonnaise. The policy change has resulted in millions of hens being given the opportunity to enjoy life outside as well as giving farmers an opportunity to develop their business. Proof that working together can really benefit everyone involved, not least the hen.
ALL farmers rely on consumers to support their livelihood and setting up free-range systems requires investment of tens of thousands of pounds; you can help to make a difference by purchasing only British free-range eggs.