Search icon

Free-range is better for welfare

News Section Icon Published 13/11/2013

It has been reported today (13.11.13) by The Times and the Daily Mail that hens kept in ‘furnished’ or ‘colony’ cages have a better standard of welfare than free-range hens.

The welfare potential of these cages will never be as high as free range systems.

Compassion believes that laying hens should be able to perform all of their natural behaviours, including stretching and flapping their wings, perching up high, foraging, scratching, dust bathing and laying their eggs in a comfortable nest. Only free-range and organic systems can provide fully for all of these behaviours.

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion said: “An enriched cage offers small improvements on the old battery cage but fails to provide for important natural behaviours. A cage is still a cage.”

“I urge consumers to buy free-range or organic eggs in order to give hens a better quality of life.”

Our Good Egg Award winners M&S, Waitrose and the Co-op have recognised that free-range eggs provide the higher welfare standards that their customers demand.


You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).