Legislators must ban cages to underpin industry progress
Today (24th January), we’re calling on legislators around the world to ban caged farming to underpin the voluntary progress being made by businesses outlined in our new EggTrack 2023 report.
The annual report, which measures the progress made by food companies towards their commitments on cage-free egg production for laying hens – shows that leading businesses across the globe have continued to make progress in 2023, in spite of global challenges such as bird flu and the war in Ukraine. Yet policy makers are failing to support this voluntary progress in law.
In the UK millions of laying hens are confined to spaces so small, they are unable to fully stretch their wings or display natural behaviours. 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.
Are we on track?
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.
100% global cage-free practices
We’re urging 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 our UK office said: “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.”
It’s time for the UK Government to honour their pledge to consult on the use of crates and cages for farmed animals. Please email the Secretary of State at Defra to reinstate the promised consultation on ending cages for farmed animals.