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Laws needed to underpin voluntary cage-free progress

News Section Icon Published 1/24/2024

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Today, we’re calling on legislators around the world to ban caged farming to underpin the voluntary progress being made by businesses outlined in our new EggTrack 2023 report.

The report – which measures the progress made by food companies towards fulfilling their commitments on cage-free egg production for laying hens – shows that leading businesses across the globe have continued to make progress in 2023, in spite of global challenges such as bird flu and the war in Ukraine.  Yet policy makers are failing to support this voluntary progress in law.  

Scientific and public backing for cage-free practices

With leading food companies, public opinion and robust scientific evidence supporting a cage-free future, it’s time for policy makers to introduce legislation to underpin the end of cages. This plea is particularly relevant in the EU where the European Commission is yet to deliver its promised ban on the use of cages for farmed animals – a measure supported by 9 out of 10 European citizens.

An overwhelming 1.4 million EU citizens signed the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens Initiative in 2020, led by us and supported by a coalition of 170 NGOs. This is further supported by the 2023 Eurobarometer which shows that 91% of Europeans believe that protecting the welfare of farmed animals is important, with 84% saying these animals should be better protected than they are currently. Cage-free production is also supported by much of the scientific community as shown in a series of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions.

2023 progress

EggTrack monitors, tracks and encourages the successful voluntary transition to cage-free of the world’s largest food businesses. In 2023, 444 companies were monitored. Between them they have made 715 cage-free commitments of which 511 (71%) are reporting on progress, with an average 75% transition to cage-free eggs.

The average transition to cage-free eggs in Europe was 80%, in the USA it was 73%, and in the Asia- Pacific (APAC) region, which only began to be monitored in the 2022 EggTrack, an average transition rate of 57% was achieved. Despite the average overall year-on-year transition falling by 2.5% for commitments tracked in both the 2022 and 2023 iterations of EggTrack, cage-free transition at a global level increased by 6.9%, and 7.4% for companies in the APAC region.

Nine companies made new global cage-free commitments: Associated British Foods PLC, Bakkavor Group PLC, Brinker International Inc, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc, Dairy Queen, Delaware North, McCormick & Company, Norwegian Cruise Line and The JM Smucker Company.

Move towards 100% global cage-free practices

We urge companies to be 100% cage free throughout their global supply. That means their commitments should cover ALL regions in which they operate and include ALL egg categories such as shell eggs, egg products AND egg ingredients.

Our Global Director of Food Business, Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion in World Farming comments: “The voluntary commitments and continued progress highlighted throughout this report clearly demonstrate that food companies are focused on providing a cage-free future for egg-laying hens.

“Cages are unwanted by consumers, 1.4 million of whom signed the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens Initiative submitted in 2020, resulting in the European Commission committing to ban cages for all farmed animals by 2027.

“Europe holds a unique opportunity to lead the way on animal welfare. By responding to its citizens with a ban on cages and supporting businesses in their transition, the European Commission has a momentous opportunity to create a level playing field across industry and send a strong message to the rest of the world that cages should be consigned to the history books for good.”

Follow the cage-free conversation on LinkedIn, X, Facebook and Instagram at #EggTrack. To learn more and to see the full EggTrack 2023 Report visit


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