The latest commitments by Asda and Lidl now mean that all the UK’s major supermarket chains have now either gone cage free or have pledged to do so.
Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative, Waitrose and M&S all banished caged eggs from their shelves long ago but in the last three weeks, following Tesco and Aldi’s groundbreaking announcements, Morrisons, Iceland, Lidl, and Asda, plus international food service company Sodexo, have all committed to go cage free.
These pledges follow a spectacular domino effect of similar announcements by leading supermarkets and other food companies in the US.
In April, Walmart, the largest grocer in the US, announced its commitment to switch to 100% cage-free whole eggs by 2025 and today Asda – the third largest supermarket in the UK - has followed the example of its parent company.
Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming, says: “The speed with which these announcements are being made demonstrates the power of market shift when forward thinking brands lead the way and act as a catalyst for change.
It is a time of major change for laying hen welfare in the UK and the hope that a cage free day will dawn in modern egg production looks increasingly feasible. The pledges from UK supermarkets should set an example to other sectors and countries that cages have no place in modern day agriculture and that the power to change it is in their hands.
The latest events also demonstrate that Compassion’s strategy of influencing big food business is working - if one key company decides to alter its policies, others follow, resulting in huge impacts for consumers and in this case, laying hens.
I would like to congratulate Asda and Lidl, the latest companies to make this cage free pledge. As with all the businesses making this commitment we will continue to work with them to ensure the production system changes required will offer the hens a good quality of life in rich and stimulating environments."
Nearly 20 million laying hens in the UK are currently kept in cages, denying them some of the most basic behaviours and depriving them of a life worth living.
The announcements to go cage free by the six major UK supermarkets over the last three weeks should release an extra 4 million hens per year from cages by 2025.
With Asda and Lidl now joining Tesco, Iceland, Morrisons, Aldi and Sodexo in their commitments to going cage free and Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative, Waitrose and M&S, already having banished caged eggs from their shelves, it looks increasingly likely that the cage age for hens will soon be confined to history.