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Praise for food companies moving away from caged eggs

Since 2007, the Good Egg Award has recognised companies that use or have committed (within five years) to use cage-free eggs or egg products.

To date, more than 105 million laying hens are set to benefit each year from our award winners’ policies.

It takes more than 6.5 billion laying hens to produce the eggs required for the global egg market, with over 60% of hens kept in industrialised caged systems.

Minimum conditions for the protection of laying hens are set out in the EU Directive (Council Directive 1999/74/EC), which has banned the use of the barren battery cage since 1 January 2012. 

In the EU, there are over 360 million laying hens kept for egg production each year, and around 38 million in the UK. Over 50% are housed in cages, the majority of which are ‘enriched’ cages, which although legal in the EU, are still confinement systems.

In the USA, nearly all laying hens are confined 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. Most of their lives are therefore spent in confinement.

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