Drive to be cage free as 2025 commitment looms

Companies will need to speed up their transition rate if they are to meet their 2025 cage-free commitment, according to the global welfare group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).


eleasing the findings of their annual EggTrack re- port, the welfare organisation said progress had been made in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, but firms needed to be careful not to opt for sys-

tems that were not future-proof or which posed a risk to a truly cage free future.

High risk ‘Combination’ and ‘limited access’ systems which are market- ed by manufacturers as ‘cage free’ and endorsed by some in- dustry groups, represent a high risk. These systems have in- ternal partitions and doors which, when closed, turn them back into a colony cage, and are operated at very high stock- ing densities. They limit hen movement and cannot be con- sidered as truly cage free. Companies must do their due dili- gence to ensure that these systems are not used and invest instead in well-designed, spacious aviary system that improve the lives of laying hens, the charity said.

Progress The report found that 134 out of 210 companies tracked had made progress towards meeting their cage-free commit- ment. Of the 210 companies, 80 operate globally, 57 operate only in North America and 73 trade just in Europe. Some of the global company highlights from the report included: • General Mills increasing its global cage-free sourcing from 40% to 55%

• Danone increasing its global cage-free sourcing from 43% to 88%

• Aramark, Sodexo and the Compass Group all reporting global and US progress across all egg types – shell, liquid and processed

• McDonald’s reporting 100% cage-free shell eggs in Europe

• Subway reporting 100% cage free for both shell eggs and egg products/ingredients in Europe.

• Barilla was the only company to have met its global cage-free commitment in 2019.

Ahead of deadline In the UK, Morrisons met their shell egg cage-free commit- ment (78% last year) ahead of their 2022 deadline. They also reported progress on their commitment for egg products/in- gredients for the first time (39% progress). Tesco added a 2025 commitment for cage-free egg products/ingredients for the first time. Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion in World Farming director of Food Business, said this year’s report showed pro- gress but that much more work needed to be done.”Compa- nies are leading the way on a cage-free future but building a supply chain capable of meeting the 2025 demand for cage- free eggs will take time and cooperation between producers and purchasers.” “It also requires investment in well-designed systems if we are to deliver the expected welfare benefits that can stand the test of time for consumer acceptability. Cage-free egg production is not ‘a nice to have’ – it’s an imperative – and we call on companies, especially those with global footprints, to meet the challenge and commit to cage-free eggs throughout their entire global supply,” she added.

▶ POULTRY WORLD | No. 1, 2021

Cage free is the way forward for the industry, but some companies (not in photo) are cutting cor- ners with limited access systems.



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