FOUR PAWS calls for British consumers to buy cage-free
Food products containing illegally produced battery eggs may still be on sale on British shelves.
London - During British Egg Week (30th September - 6th October) we’re urging consumers to choose free-range eggs and to carefully read food labels to ensure they aren’t buying products with hidden caged eggs.
Food products imported into the UK may still contain eggs from conventional cages, which are now illegal in the EU, potentially resulting in the consumer inadvertently buying eggs from illegally caged hens.
Since 1st January 2012, conventional battery cages for laying hens have been banned in all EU member states. Only so-called “enriched cages” are allowed. Enriched cages include a nest box and limited perching and scratching areas but still severely limit the birds’ movement and fail to meet many of their behavioural needs.
Angelique Davies, Head or Programmes at FOUR PAWS, said: “It’s shocking that products containing illegal eggs may still be on sale in the UK. Hens in these illegal cages suffer terribly and are confined in such tiny spaces that they often suffer both mentally and physically. In the 21st century it is totally unacceptable that eggs from hens kept in such inhumane conditions are still on sale on British shelves in processed foods and consumers aren't even able to tell from the label where the eggs have come from."
Around half of hens in the UK are still housed in cages. If it doesn't specify on the ingredient list that the eggs are free-range or barn, you can assume they are likely to have come from cages.
FOUR PAWS is calling on the Government for clearer labelling on eggs to ensure consumers know what's in their shopping basket and can make informed choices about animal welfare.
FOUR PAWS is also campaigning for the egg labelling laws to be extended to include egg ingredient in products like cake so that companies using cage eggs will have to make that clear on the label. A poll commissioned by FOUR PAWS showed 69% of consumers think that all food products containing eggs should be labelled to indicate the production system that the eggs came from.
Egg laying hens are one of the few types of farm animal in the UK that, on some farms, are still kept in close-confinement cage systems for all of their productive lives. FOUR PAWS is concerned that hens can't carry out all of their important natural behaviours properly in such an environment. All laying hens should be kept in well-managed free-range or barn systems to enable them to perform all their natural behaviours.
During this week we're urging consumers to choose free-range eggs and to carefully read food labels to ensure they aren’t buying products with hidden caged eggs. Does your favourite cake or food product use cage-free egg ingredients? If it doesn’t specify this, why not write to them (we’ve created a template letter) and encourage them to commit to making the switch to cage-free eggs: http://tinyurl.com/oyhp8uf