Calls for Tesco to end sale of battery eggs
SCOTTISH ANIMAL CAMPAIGNERS CALL ON TESCO TO END SALE OF BATTERY EGGS
ADVOCATES FOR ANIMALS LAUNCHES ‘GO CAGE-FREE!’ CAMPAIGN TOUR
Advocates for Animals kicks off its nationwide ‘Go Cage-Free!’ campaign tour today in a bid to encourage Tesco to end the sale of eggs from caged hens. The animal protection organisation will be visiting Tesco stores in 16 towns and cities across Scotland over the next two weeks. Tesco store managers are being invited to receive copies of footage of hens in battery cages recently taken by Advocates' investigators1. The tour’s first event will take place today outside a Tesco store in Dunfermline.
Joining campaigners will be Hetty, a 6-foot battery hen, and a body-screen TV showing footage of the conditions egg-laying hens endure on battery farms1. Advocates’ supporters will also be holding colourful placards bearing the slogan ‘Tesco: Stop selling battery eggs – Go Cage-Free!’, and handing out information leaflets, campaign postcards and ‘I’m Cage-Free’ stickers to Tesco shoppers.
A typical metal battery cage is about the size of a microwave oven, completely barren and houses up to five hens for a year. Each bird has a floor area less than the size of a piece of A4 paper. The hens cannot even fully stand up straight or stretch their wings, never mind run or fly. All they can do is eat, drink, pass waste and, of course, lay eggs. Confinement and overcrowding cause frustration, chronic suffering, severe bone weakness, osteoporosis and physical deformity.
Scotland’s biggest egg producer, Glenrath Farms Ltd, supplies eggs to Tesco. This company was recently exposed by Advocates' investigators for breaching Scottish animal welfare regulations on one of its many battery farms 1. Investigators found up to eight birds crammed into barren wire cages, which according to welfare rules should only have held a maximum of five birds. Many birds showed significant feather loss and severe foot deformities and dead and decomposing birds were found. Official Animal Health inspections are ongoing.
In addition to lobbying Tesco to commit to going cage-free, Advocates will educate the public about how hens suffer in battery cages. The campaign group will ask shoppers not to buy eggs from caged hens and opt instead for organic or free range eggs produced in systems which have the potential for better welfare, or consider reducing their egg consumption or giving them up entirely.
Advocates’ Campaigns Director, Ross Minett, said: “Tesco is the largest supermarket in the UK and has yet to commit to selling only cage-free eggs. We are urging Tesco to follow in the footsteps of other supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons which have recently set a date when all eggs sold will be cage-free.
“Hens suffer terribly when forced to spend their miserable lives crammed into barren battery cages. Free range or organic hens have the potential for much better welfare.
“A hen has to live in a cage for a week to produce one box of battery eggs. We hope this tour will persuade Tesco and Scottish shoppers to turn their backs on battery eggs and choose to go cage-free!”
1 For interviews, further information, photographs or video footage of Advocates' investigation, please contact: Advocates’ Campaigns Director, Ross Minett, on 0131 2256039, 07946 517585
Advocates is grateful to Compassion in World Farming for the loan of Hetty the hen and to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for the loan of its body-screen TV.
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