Since 2007, the Good Egg Award has celebrated companies that use or have committed to use only cage-free eggs or egg products in their supply chain. To date, more than 85 million laying hens are set to benefit each year from our award winners’ policies.
It takes more than 6 billion hens to produce the eggs required for the global egg market, with over 60% of hens kept in industrialised caged systems. There are over 325 million laying hens kept for egg production in the EU each year, and around 35 million in the UK. Eggs are sold either in their shells or are used by restaurants and food manufacturers in a wide range of processed products from soups and sauces to ready meals, cakes, biscuits and desserts.
Minimum conditions for the protection of laying hens are set out in the EU Directive (Council Directive 1999/74/EC), which banned the use of the barren battery cage as of 1st January 2012. Some member states are still not fully compliant with the legislation and we urge all food businesses to check their supply chains to ensure eggs and especially egg products are not from hens in barren battery cage systems. Whilst the barren battery cage ban signifies a huge step for hen welfare, enriched cages, which are still confinement systems and limit behavioural expression, are legal.
Over 40% of hens in the UK are in enriched cages compared to the EU which has a far higher number, and almost all hens in the USA are in barren battery cages. Hens start laying regularly at around 18-20 weeks of age and commercially they lay for just over a year before being sent for slaughter; for caged hens, most of their life is therefore spent in confinement.
Good Egg Award
The awards programme works by recognising and rewarding producers, manufacturers, food service companies, retailers and public bodies for working in a sustainable and responsible way.
Compassion awards companies whose supply chains address the confinement of laying hens, by using barn, free range or organic production systems.