Corporate responsibility in
cage-free egg production
Animal welfare as an added value
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.
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).
After months of meetings with Equalia, the international supermarket chain E.Leclerc has published its commitment to sell only eggs from cage-free hens from 2025 onwards, applying this policy also to eggs used as ingredients in all its own brand products.
The adoption of this policy by E.Leclerc will lead to essential improvements in animal welfare in the production of a considerable part of the food market, positively affecting around 300,000 hens in Spain.
On the other hand, the application of the published commitment is not limited to E.Leclerc establishments in Spain, since it would also extend to the rest of the countries where the chain is present: Portugal, Poland, Slovenia and Andorra, where the date of publication of the commitment is still awaited.
When these countries are taken into account, the number of birds that will no longer spend their lives confined in cages increases to 2 million.
After several conversations with Consum supermarkets, the Spanish supermarket chain has committed to stop selling eggs from caged hens from 2025 on.
Leading supermarkets in the distribution sector have already committed to stop selling eggs from caged hens: Mercadona, Lidl, Carrefour, El Corte Inglés, Alcampo, Condis, E. Leclerc and now, Consum.
With the inclusion of this measure in its animal welfare policy, Consum will improve the living conditions of 700,000 laying hens.
Bon Preu Supermarkets
In collaboration with Equalia, the leading supermarket chain in Catalonia has commited to stop selling eggs from cage rearing systems by 2025. Thus, Bon Preu promotes essential improvements in animal welfare in the production of a large part of the fresh egg market, and improves the living conditions of approximately 400,000 hens.
According to the last official census of the sector, 77% of laying hens in Spain are housed in cage systems, which means more than 35 million birds.
In the case of Catalonia, the census of laying hens amounts to more than 4 million. This situation contrasts with the European census of laying hens, where countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Slovakia are already heading for a 100% cage-free market.
After our conversations with UVESCO (BM Supermarkets), the supermarket chain has included in its animal welfare policy the measure that from 2025 on, the 100% of the fresh eggs that they sell will be from cage-free hens, as well as the eggs used as an ingredient in its own preparations.
With presence in Alava, Asturias, Avila, Biscay, Cantabria, Guipúzcoa, La Rioja, Madrid and Navarra, UVESCO's decision will affect more than 198,000 laying hens.
Help us to continue building a fairer and more sustainable food system
Companies that have committed to supply only cage-free eggs:
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