Our work Animals in Aotearoa Hens 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:

Supermarkets and retailers

  • Woolworths in Australia, (who owns Countdown in New Zealand): cage-free by 2025
  • Every major UK retailer, including Tesco, Iceland, Morrisons, Asda, Lidl and ALDI: cage-free by 2025
  • Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencers and Waitrose in the UK: already cage-free
  • All Dutch and Austrian supermarkets: already cage-free
  • All German supermarkets, except Norma: already cage-free
  • Most Belgian supermarkets: already cage-free
  • 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: cage-free by 2025
  • 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: all cage-free by 2025
  • Norwegian supermarket Bunnpris: going cage-free by 2019


  • McDonald’s worldwide: already cage-free globally
  • Subway: cage-free in North America by 2025 and free range in Australia and Europe
  • Starbucks: cage-free in North America by 2020
  • Wendy’s: cage-free in US and Canada by 2020
  • Burger King: already cage-free in the US, globally by 2025
  • Carl’s Junior: cage-free in US by 2025
  • Cheesecake Shop: already free-range in Australia
  • Coffee Club: already free range in Australia
  • Denny’s: cage-free in US by 2026
  • Taco Bell: cage-free in US by end 2017
  • Hungry Jack’s: already cage-free in Australia
  • KFC: already cage-free in Australia
  • Nando’s: already cage-free in Australia


  • Choice: Nordic hotels already cage-free
  • InterContinental Hotels Group: cage-free in US, Canada and Europe by 2022, globally by 2025
  • Mariott International: already cage-free globally
  • Accor Hotels: cage-free globally by 2028
  • Park Hyatt: already cage free in North America


  • 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
  • Bidfoods: cage-free in UK by 2025

Manufacture brands

  • Arnott’s: already cage-free in Australia
  • Kellogg’s: cage-free globally by 2025
  • 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
  • Mondelez (owns Cadbury): cage-free US and Canada by 2020 and Europe by 2025
  • Heinz Watties: cage free for North America by 2025
  • Pepsico: cage-free in US by 2020; globally by 2025
  • Mars: cage-free US, Canada and Australia by 2020
  • Nestle: cage-free in US by 2020
  • Unilever: already cage-free in Europe, globally by 2020

See the full list of companies that are going cage-free.

International Campaigns

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.


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