Legislators must ban cages to underpin industry progress outlined in EggTrack 2023
Compassion in World Farming is calling on the UK Government to ban caged animal farming to underpin the voluntary progress made by businesses towards cage-free production reflected in its latest EggTrack report released today (24th January).
The annual report – which measures the progress made by food companies towards fulfilling their voluntary commitments on cage-free egg production for laying hens – shows that leading businesses have continued to make progress, in spite of global challenges such as bird flu and the war in Ukraine.
With leading food companies, public opinion and robust scientific evidence supporting a cage-free future, Compassion is urging the UK Government to end the cage age for farmed animals.
Around 8 million UK farmed animals spend most of their lives trapped in cages. This includes millions of laying hens confined to spaces so small, they are unable to fully stretch their wings or display natural behaviours. Yet despite the UK and Scottish Governments previously promising consultations to examine the use of cages in farming, both have failed to take any further action.
EggTrack monitors, tracks and encourages the successful voluntary transition to cage-free of the world’s largest food businesses. In 2023, 43 companies in the UK were monitored. Between them they have made 56 cage-free commitments, of which 45 (80%) are reporting progress, with an average 81% transition to cage-free eggs.
The average transition to cage-free eggs in Europe was 80%, in the USA it was 73%, and in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which only began to be monitored in the 2022 EggTrack, an average transition rate of 57% was achieved. Despite the average overall year-on-year transition falling by 2.5% for commitments tracked in both the 2022 and 2023 iterations of EggTrack, cage-free transition at a global level increased by 6.9%, and 7.4% for companies in the APAC region.
Nine companies made new global cage-free commitments: Associated British Foods PLC, Bakkavor Group PLC, Brinker International Inc, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc, Dairy Queen, Delaware North, McCormick & Company, Norwegian Cruise Line and The JM Smucker Company.
Compassion urges companies to be 100% cage free throughout their global supply. That means their commitments should cover ALL regions in which they operate and include ALL egg categories such as shell eggs, egg products AND egg ingredients.
Anthony Field, Head of Compassion in World Farming’s UK office comments: “The voluntary commitments and continued progress highlighted throughout this report clearly demonstrate that food companies in the UK are focused on providing a cage-free future for egg-laying hens.
“Now it’s time for the Government to publish their promised consultations on cages and lead the way on animal welfare - sending a strong message to the rest of the world that cages should be consigned to the history books for good.”
Follow the cage-free conversation on LinkedIn, X, Facebook and Instagram at #EggTrack. To learn more and to see the full EggTrack 2023 Report visit www.eggtrack.com
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Notes to Editors:
- Images can be downloaded.
- EggTrack measures food companies' progress, reporting against their global, USA, European and APAC cage-free egg commitments. It summarises progress by region and food company sector and allows for a year-on-year progress comparison across regions, sectors and individual company commitments.
- All information in EggTrack is based on companies’ publicly disclosed information, such as on the company’s website, their animal welfare policy or ESG/CSR report or in a press release.
- Companies that have made a cage-free commitment for laying hens are selected to be included in EggTrack based on their size, egg footprint, market influence and commitment deadline.
- Of the 444 companies included in EggTrack 2023, 79 operate globally, 274 operate in Europe (including the UK), 134 companies operate in the USA and 23 operate in APAC. They straddle all sectors with 51 manufacturers, 195 retailers & meal kit providers, 111 restaurants, 13 producers and 74 food service and hospitality companies represented.
- Full details of the methodology used in this report, including egg categories and their definitions, can be found at www.eggtrack.com
 The number of companies added by region (510) exceeds the total number of companies including in EggTrack 2023 (444) due to some companies having commitments across multiple regions.