Compassion demands legislators ban cages to underpin industry progress outlined in EggTrack 2023
Compassion in World Farming is calling on legislators to ban caged animal farming to underpin the voluntary progress made by businesses towards cage-free production reflected in its latest Eggtrack report released today (24 January).
The annual report – which measures the progress made by food companies towards fulfilling their voluntary commitments on cage-free egg production for laying hens – shows that leading businesses have continued to make progress, in spite of global challenges such as bird flu and the war in Ukraine.
With leading food companies, public opinion and robust scientific evidence supporting a cage-free future, Compassion is urging policy makers to introduce legislation to underpin the end of cages. This plea is particularly pertinent to 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.
Such legislation would reflect the views of EU citizens, as demonstrated by the 1.4 million EU citizens who signed the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens Initiative in 2020, which was supported by a coalition of 170 NGOs, led by Compassion in World Farming. This is further supported by the 2023 Eurobarometer in which 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 supported by much of the scientific community as shown in a series of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions.
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.
Debbie Friedel, Director of Sustainability at Delaware North said: “Delaware North has been working with Compassion in World Farming since 2022, when the company recognized that there was more it might do to progress its cage-free commitment.
“Product availability and supply chain disruptions can present a real challenge to meeting our animal welfare commitments. Through consistent communication and feedback, we have benefitted greatly from CIWF’s knowledge and expertise as we transition to 100% cage-free eggs by 2025.”
Compassion urges 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.
Dr Tracey Jones, Global Director of Food Business, 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 our website.
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Notes to Editors
1. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa.
2. Images can be downloaded here.
3. EggTrack measures food companies' progress, reporting against their global, USA, European and APAC cage-free egg commitments. It summarises progress by region and food company sector and allows for a year-on-year progress comparison across regions, sectors and individual company commitments.
All information in EggTrack is based on companies’ publicly disclosed information, such as on the company’s website, their animal welfare policy or ESG/CSR report or in a press release.
Companies that have made a cage-free commitment for laying hens are selected to be included in EggTrack based on their size, egg footprint, market influence and commitment deadline.
Full details of the methodology used in this report, including egg categories and their definitions, can be found at www.eggtrack.com
Of the 444 companies included in EggTrack 2023, 79 operate globally, 274 operate in Europe (including the UK), 134 companies operate in the USA and 23 operate in APAC. They straddle all sectors with 51 manufacturers, 195 retailers & meal kit providers, 111 restaurants, 13 producers and 74 food service and hospitality companies represented.