Cage-Free Eggs Initiative
Animal welfare as an added value
Our Cage-free Eggs initiative aims to collaborate with key stakeholders in the poultry, retail and food service sectors, to reach realistic agreements that will facilitate the transition to a cage-free egg production system.
Freeing hens from a lifetime of cage ownership is in line with animal science findings and the animal welfare demands of consumers. It is also in accordance with the European Green Pact sustainability framework, the Farm to Fork strategy and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDA).
All code 3 eggs (the first number in the series printed on the shell) come from hens that spend their entire lives in cages. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture, more than 35 million hens are forced to live in cages in Spain. Each bird has only slightly more space than a sheet of paper.
The cage system in egg production is unnecessary. Laying hens must be released from the cages and kept in humane conditions. According to data from the 2018 survey on attitudes and perceptions of egg consumption in Spain, 54% of those surveyed would be willing to pay at least a 10% to 30% more if better welfare for hens could be guaranteed.
Egg production in cages is completely banned in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria. In Germany, it will be banned in 2025. In Slovakia in 2030. In other European countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands or Belgium, less than 40% of their production is currently caged. In Spain, 77% of laying hens are kept in cages.
Leading animal welfare scientists agree that animal confinement in cages seriously reduces their welfare. Therefore, the cage-rearing system has obtained the lowest score in animal welfare in several scientific studies
Large companies in the retail sector have committed to stop selling eggs from caged hens:
European welfare legislation for food animals stipulates that "an animal's freedom of movement must not be restricted in such a way as to cause unnecessary suffering". It also states that "where an animal is continuously or regularly confined, it must be provided with appropriate space for its psychological and ethological needs, in accordance with accumulated experience and scientific knowledge".
European Convention for the Protection of Animals intended for Consumption
"Eggs produced in systems that demonstrate improved animal welfare have an added value, and are therefore of higher quality”.
María Villaluenga, press officer and spokesperson for Equalia