Sir, All egg production systems have advantages and disadvantages but we are proud to say that our eggs are produced to some of the highest standards in the EU, across all systems, to ensure the best possible welfare for the hens (‘Half a dozen eggs down to just 50p as mults cut prices,’ 26 March, p19).
The new enriched colony cages, introduced in 2012 in place of conventional ‘battery’ cages, provide approximately 40% more space per bird and more height. The much larger group size in the new enriched colonies of typically 40 to 80 birds also allows the hens much more space to move around within the colony. The system also ensures hens can perform most of their natural behaviour - perches to sleep on; nest boxes to lay eggs in; and a scratching area.
In the UK, around half of consumers eat eggs from laying cage hens, which meet the demand for affordable, nutritious, high-quality food. Clear labelling ensures that people who wish to eat non-cage eggs can do so. We believe that consumers should continue to have this choice, but we are also confident that all British egg producers take animal welfare very seriously.
Andrew Joret, British Egg Industry Council chairman