At celebrations at the Eiffel Tower 70 top European companies from 17 countries received Good Egg Awards from Compassion in World Farming for committing to source only cage-free (barn, free-range or organic) eggs.
These 70 companies currently use altogether over one billion eggs a year: their new policy will save millions of hens from a life of suffering in the cruel battery cage.
The Good Egg Awards were developed by Compassion in World Farming to celebrate the commitment of companies that are setting free millions of hens. This year's European winners include the famous French chef Guy Martin, Lidl in Germany, Calvé mayonnaise in Spain and twelve Italian city councils.
Previous winners of Compassion in World Farming's Good Egg Awards, now in their third year, include McDonald's Europe, Unilever, the catering of Google Europe and the European Parliament. To date, Good Egg Awards' winners have released over 25 million hens from cages every year due to their cage-free egg policies or commitments to stop sourcing their eggs from cage systems.
Compassion in World Farming's Food Business Director, Steve McIvor, says: "Our spread of winners this year really demonstrates that Europe's food industry is taking this issue seriously. We've got companies from all corners of Europe and from all sectors of the food industry making a move to cage-free eggs, including the catering operations of public bodies, hospitals and universities.
"They are clearly responding to what they think European consumers want and are doing what's best for the future of their business."
The growing consumer trend for more ethically produced eggs means European companies have a clear opportunity to lead the way in animal welfare standards, ahead of the 2012 ban on barren battery cages. The ban will still allow so-called 'enriched cages', which compromise laying hen welfare. That's why the Good Egg Awards celebrate companies who are choosing cage-free eggs from suppliers who have higher farm animal welfare standards.
Currently more than two thirds of Europe's hens are kept in battery cages, but some countries' national figures, such as Spain and Czech Republic, rise to 95 per cent. France, host country of the award ceremony, currently houses 88 per cent of its laying hen flock in cages.
Visit the Good Egg Awards website to see all the winners.