Did you know that while many peo­ple opt to buy free range whole eggs, pro­cessed foods and restau­rants of­ten use eggs from caged birds. Bri­tish Hen Wel­fare Trust founder Jane Howorth dis­cusses the char­ity’s new #hid­deneggs cam­paign

Your Chickens - - Contents -

FOOD IS one the delights of the fes­tive sea­son. It brings friends and fam­ily to­gether and is one of the very best things about Christ­mas. But what if your Christ­mas cake isn’t all it is cracked up to be?

Any­one with a food in­tol­er­ance or al­lergy will al­ready be into the prac­tice of check­ing the in­gre­di­ents lists on all their favourite prod­ucts, but what about those of us with a pas­sion for hen wel­fare? We all know that opt­ing for the free range half a dozen helps to en­sure bet­ter wel­fare con­di­tions for the hens who laid the eggs, but it is not at the fore­front of most peo­ple’s minds to check that the eggs in their pro­cessed foods match the same stan­dards.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish Lion Eggs, 60% of us opted for free range whole eggs in 2017. How­ever, whole eggs only ac­count for 55% of the UK egg mar­ket, mean­ing that the other 45% are used in restau­rants or go into pro­cessed foods, such as the cakes, quiches and sauces we buy in the su­per­mar­ket. These eggs are both caged and free range and, while the lat­ter is iden­ti­fied in in­gre­di­ents lists, brands are less likely to shout about the fact that the eggs in their prod­ucts were laid by hens in cages.

We all re­joiced when su­per­mar­kets an­nounced their pledges to go cage-free by 2025, and rightly so, as it means hun­dreds of thou­sands of hens will be per­ma­nently taken out of their cages. But cage-free does not mean free range.

Barn sys­tems, where lay­ing hens are kept within large enclosed barns with no ac­cess out­doors, ac­count for just 1.5% of the egg mar­ket (De­fra, for year to Septem­ber 2017). How­ever, Tesco, which sells 1.4 bil­lion eggs in the UK ev­ery year, has stated specif­i­cally that it will look to source eggs from barn, free range and or­ganic sys­tems from 2025, so it is im­por­tant that peo­ple know just where their shell eggs — and eggs in pro­cessed foods — are coming from.

That is why the Bri­tish Hen Wel­fare Trust (BHWT) is call­ing for change. We know that some brands still used caged eggs in their prod­ucts, which we think isn’t con­sis­tent with con­sumer de­mand for free range eggs. So, our #hid­deneggs cam­paign is call­ing on McVitie’s and Mr Ki­pling to make a com­mit­ment to use only free range eggs be­cause we all likes a Jaffa Cake or An­gel Slice made with eggs laid by free range hens.

Help­ing us in our quest is new BHWT am­bas­sador Lucy Gav­aghan, who ran a suc­cess­ful pe­ti­tion call­ing on Tesco to stop sell­ing caged eggs. We be­lieve that to­gether we can con­tinue work­ing to­wards a high-wel­fare free range fu­ture for all lay­ing hens.

To launch our cam­paign, the char­ity and Lucy have worked to­gether with BHWT pa­trons Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Do­herty to high­light the im­por­tance of #hid­deneggs. You can see it all in an up­com­ing episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Fri­day Night Feast which airs in Novem­ber.

You can get in­volved in the cam­paign by sign­ing our pe­ti­tions. Visit www.­deneggs.


Christ­mas is a time for eat­ing, but it is also a time for giv­ing, so what bet­ter way to com­bine the two than by hold­ing a fes­tive bake sale to raise money for the BHWT? You can whip up some free range tasty treats (think Christ­mas cake, yule logs and eggnog) and take them into work or share with friends and fam­ily in ex­change for a do­na­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion and a free Bake for Hens’ Sake fundrais­ing pack, visit

The BHWT’s #hid­deneggs cam­paign is call­ing on McVitie’s and Mr Ki­pling to make a com­mit­ment to use only free range eggs in their prod­ucts

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