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Sainsbury's goes cage-free on shell eggs

From today, 5 February the UK supermarket giant Sainsbury's is no longer selling shell eggs from battery hens. When Compassion in World Farming awarded Sainsbury's with a Good Egg Award in 2008 it was on the promise of this remarkable move planned for 2010, yet the supermarket chain has managed to bring this commitment forward by a whole year.

Sainsbury's sells 1.6 million eggs every day, which is more than 600 million eggs a year. It is the first major retailer to withdraw all the whole eggs it sells from battery cages.

Rowen West-Henzell, Food Business Manager at Compassion in World Farming said: "We are over the moon that Sainsbury's has gone cage-free almost a year ahead of the store's original 2010 commitment. The scale of this move is breathtaking, with a total of 2.3 million hens every year now living cage-free as a result.

Finbar Cartlidge, Sainsbury's egg buyer, said: 'We are delighted that all Sainsbury's customers will now enjoy higher welfare eggs whilst the other major retailers still continue with over half their eggs coming from caged hens. We've worked hard with our producers to deliver a range that continues to offer our customers great value for money, is 100% British and improves the welfare of over half a million hens each week.

'We take animal welfare very seriously at Sainsbury's and changed our egg sourcing policy to reflect our own and our customers' concerns about the welfare of hens kept in cages. We are therefore delighted that all our customers can now enjoy eggs that are from British farms that do not keep hens in cages, and that are approved by Freedom Food. Receiving Compassion in World Farming's Good Egg Award accompanied by their ongoing encouragement and support throughout the period of conversion has been invaluable.'

Sainsbury's will now be working on removing all caged egg from their own-label products by 2012 - a move which won the supermarket a second Good Egg Award last year. Its Taste the Difference range uses free-range eggs already.

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