Ban the Battery Cage
Currently there are around 320-330 million egg laying hens in the European Union (EU - 27) in commercial flocks. These hens are kept in a variety of systems ranging from free range, barn and organic, to caged systems such as enriched and barren battery.
In 1999 the EU agreed a Directive on Laying Hens (1999/74/EC) that resulted in the banning of the most inhumane of these systems, the barren battery cage. The EU allowed producers a 12 year phase-out period, bringing the ban into effect on 1 January 2012
The Big Move Campaign
The ban on the barren battery cage is a tremendous victory for animal welfare. Through The Big Move campaign, Compassion in World Farming has led the way in helping ensure the ban was successfully defended, in the face of strong opposition from producers and a number of EU member states.
Directly impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of hens, The Big Move campaign continues to take action on behalf of the hens still in these now illegal cages, targeting EU nations containing non-compliant producers.
In a barren battery cage, a hen is unable to carry out many of her most basic natural behaviours. This causes her extreme physical and psychological stress.
In Europe, a barren battery cage typically holds four or five hens with a floor space allowance per bird of less than an A4 sheet of paper. The height of the cage is only just enough to allow the hens to stand upright.
The cages usually have a sloping wire mesh floor and are stacked in rows several tiers high. Each unit holds thousands of hens this way. Hens in these cages are typically kept in closed sheds that are artificially lit and ventilated.
Retailers, manufacturers and service
Our Good Egg Awards reward European food companies for going cage-free - sourcing only barn or free-range eggs, instead of eggs from caged hens. Winners so far include Sainsbury's, McDonald’s (UK), and Unilever (including Hellmann’s mayonnaise in the UK). A projected 25 million laying hens are set to benefit from our Good Egg Award winners’ policies to date.