Hen charity backs British egg industry

Posted 30th March 2010 01:22pm by

PRESS RELEASE – 30-03-2010

The British Hen Welfare Trust has recently consolidated its position as the leading hen welfare charity that works to promote a strong British free range egg industry. Formerly known as the “Battery Hen Welfare Trust”, it has recently undergone a name change and re-brand to more accurately reflect the organisation’s wider scope.

Now called the British Hen Welfare Trust, the charity is well-known for its level-headed approach and willingness to work with farmers to find solutions; a recent Country Life ranking of the people with most influence on those who live in the countryside put the charity’s founder, Jane Howorth, 82nd, just two places behind David Cameron. The article described the charity as one “which educates the public about the egg industry in a remarkably sensible and non-hysterical way’.

Jane Howorth said: “We are very proud of the fact that the charity has re-homed around 200,000 commercial laying hens since its inception. But that’s just one strand of our work; we also educate the public about how they can make a difference to hen welfare by changing their purchasing behaviour, and we acknowledge the issues facing farmers and encourage support for 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 British Hen Welfare Trust, in collaboration with South-West MP Colin Breed, has tabled two Early Day Motions (EDMs) calling 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.

Chief Exec Jane Howorth continued: “It is important that farmers who are investing in improved welfare systems are supported by the government, the retailers and the public. Consumers are showing a preference for animal products raised to higher welfare standards and clear labelling will allow them to give British farmers – and the laying hen – their backing, and not drive cheap, lower welfare imports of battery eggs from overseas.”

The British Hen Welfare Trust’s new name and logo, with the strap line “for a free range future”,are designed to acknowledge the changing industry and to better reflect its work encouraging consumers, retailers and farmers to go free range.

The British Hen Welfare Trust‟s Devon farm will be featured in the BBC documentary “The Private Life of Chickens” on BBC2, April 28th.

For information on Free Range Friday visit www.bhwt.org.uk/freerangefriday Click www.bhwt.org.uk like on Facebook www.facebook.com/BritishHenWelfareTrust or follow on Twitter:  @BHWTOfficial for up to date information on the charity and to find out more about rehoming hens.