The media has been reporting on the current egg shortage and predictions of huge increases in price within the UK.
While these price rises have so far not impacted upon consumers in the UK, the price of wholesale eggs has soared, more than quadrupling since the beginning of January.
The ban of the barren battery cage for egg laying hens is being blamed for the shortage and the knock-on price increase. However, European Union member states have had 13 years to prepare for this ban; more than enough time to put plans in place and take steps to ensure they were ready to meet the 1 January 2012 deadline.
Instead many producers across the EU dragged their feet and therefore had to rush around at the last minute to ensure they were meeting the legislative deadline. Instead of gradually moving to the higher welfare systems, many producers have had to slaughter their hens in huge numbers over a short period of time in order to be compliant and have chosen not to replace their flock in a legal farming system.
UK production is expected to be down 5% this year, but new legal systems are being put in place in order to meet demand.
Compassion is pleased to see that many EU States are now compliant with the ban. Some of the countries that were calling for delays are working towards adhering to the new legislation. However, there are currently 13 non-compliant countries and we will continue to lobby their governments until we are sure of 100% compliance.
The ban on the barren battery cage will improve the lives of hundreds of millions of hens across Europe, saving them from a life of cruel confinement.