What's Happening Overseas?
The plight of battery hens has received recognition internationally.
In the European Union standard battery cages (which provide only 450 square centimeters of cage space per hen) were finally phased out from January 2012. Colony battery cages (which must provide 600 square centimeters of usable space per hen) are still allowed. In addition, eggs from caged birds must legally be labeled as such throughout the European Union.
Austria banned battery cages in 2009 and is set to ban 'furnished' (equivalent to New Zealand colony) cages by 2020. Belgium has also banned the battery cage – and proposes to ban colony cages by 2024. Switzerland has already banned both the battery and furnished cage systems, through a ten-year phase out of all battery farming which was achieved in 1992. In the US, California and Michigan have passed laws banning the caging of hens
Retailers Abandoning Cage Eggs
Overseas, there has been a huge momentum of people moving away from cage eggs and in response to this, many food retailers have pledged to go cage-free. This is just some of them:
- Woolworths in Australia, (who owns Countdown in New Zealand), going cage-free by 2025.
- Every major UK retailer, including Tesco, Iceland, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl and ALDI, have made a commitment to end the sale of eggs produced by colony-kept hens by 2025. Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencers and Waitrose already don’t sell cage eggs.
- McDonald’s worldwide.
- All Dutch and Austrian supermarkets.
- All German supermarkets, except Norma.
- Most Belgian supermarkets.
- Carrefour, Intermarchė and Netto supermarkets in France cage-free by 2025.
- All nationwide supermarkets in Denmark cage-free by 2020.
- Netto Sweden cage-free by 2017 and Netto Poland by 2025.
- Sodexo, the global food giant, with operations in 80 countries and over 32,000 outlets, cage-free in the US by 2012, and globally by 2025.
- Compass Group, the largest food service company in the world, cage-free globally by 2025.
Elior Group, the fourth largest food service company in the world, cage-free globally by 2025.
- Subway in Australia, the United States, Canada, and Europe – all have gone or are in the process of going cage-free.
- The 25 largest supermarket and grocery chains in the US and Canada have committed to eliminating cage eggs in their supply chain. These include Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, and Walmart, both cage-free by 2025.
- Starbucks in North America by 2020.
- Wendy’s in US and Canada by 2020.
- Burger King in the US by 2017.
General Mills, one of the world’s largest food manufacturers and consumer packaged goods companies, cage-free globally by 2025.
- Giovanni Rana, the 4th largest consumer packaged goods company in Italy, cage-free by 2017.
- Norwegian supermarket Bunnpris going cage-free.
- Kellogg's, cage-free globally by 2025.
See the full list of companies that are going 100% cage-free in the US and Canada.
SAFE is in coalition with twenty-eight other animal groups across the globe in the Open Wing Alliance. Initiated by The Humane League, the Open Wing Alliance member organisations have joined forces to create a unified front in the campaign to free egg-laying hens from cages.