Free Range, Barn or Battery

I hope anyone who's been watching Jimmy's Farm on BBC 2 will think twice when buying their cheap supermarket eggs.

They've just taken delivery 100 ex-battery hens - almost feather-less, as they described - "oven ready". These poor birds have overgrown toe-nails, clipped beaks, pale and totally bemused by space, fresh air and daylight having been cooped up in tiny wire cages for a year as they deliver cheap eggs. No longer needed because their egg production has dropped off many of them end up as even cheaper chicken meat in the supermarket.

A few facts:
  • there are 20 million battery hens in the UK
  • 70% of eggs produced in the UK come from battery hens
  • Only 6% are produced by barn hens
  • 24% are free range.

In their life-time a battery hen will only lay 15 more eggs a year than a free-range or battery hen.

Don't buy battery eggs and don't buy the products that contain battery eggs. Most manufacturers use battery eggs - search out the ones that don't and always ask if you're not sure.

  • Hellmans mayonnaise doesn't use free-range.
  • Tesco, Sainsburys, Iceland and Morrisons have no intention of banning battery eggs.
  • M&S, Waitrose, Co-op use free range either in all their products or their own brand.

Buy and eat free range or barn eggs.
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