Food companies across the EU have sent a joint letter to the EU Commission and members of the EU Parliament calling for a phasing out of cages in animal farming.
The group of ten food companies, which include Unilever, Nestlé and Jamie Oliver Group, co-signed the letter which stated that, at EU level, the business case for phasing out enriched cages for laying hens is strong.
It notes that: “Cage-free systems are widespread, economically viable, and provide better living conditions for hens.”
The signatories stressed that the revision of the animal welfare legislation, which is currently under preparation, is the “ideal opportunity” to end the use of cages in animal farming across the EU.
“We need UK legislation, however, to be in place to eliminate all caged production and to stop the import of eggs, particularly ingredient egg, from caged systems.”
Olga Kikou, head of Compassion in World Farming EU and substitute representative of the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), commented: “Many businesses are already ahead of the game, having phased out cages in their supply chains. A cage-free future is possible and is already being enabled by some progressive companies.
“The EU now needs to catch up and revise the legislation for farmed animals so that the cruel use of cages is brought to an end, for all farmed species.”
Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion in World Farming added: “It’s great to have these leading businesses supporting our call to phase out cages for laying hens across the EU, but given Brexit, we must maintain pressure on the UK government too.
“In the UK, all the major supermarkets have either ended the sale of eggs from caged hens or have committed to do so by 2025. We need UK legislation, however, to be in place to eliminate all caged production and to stop the import of eggs, particularly ingredient egg, from caged systems.
“We have a newly established good barn standard in the UK for laying hens and a high level of free-range production which we must support for both shell and ingredient eggs.”