Sustain names and shames London council ‘bad eggs’

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

London Food Link Network is pressing councils to commit to sourcing eggs from cage-free hens
London Food Link Network is pressing councils to commit to sourcing eggs from cage-free hens

Related tags Chicken London

Animal welfare campaigners have named and shamed the 18 London councils that don’t source eggs from cage-free hens, increasing pressure on them to do so.

London Food Link Network, run by Sustain, which promotes ethical food supply, has written to all 33 London councils, urging them to commit solely to cage-free eggs for local authority catering needs.

The group said the move would make them eligible for a Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming, a body Sustain works closely with.

Express their concerns

London Food Link Network is also inviting Londoners to express their concerns on Sustain’s website. In addition, it praised the 15 councils that had committed to cage-free hen eggs, urging them to adopt higher welfare standards for chicken, pork and milk sourcing as well.

The Greater London Authority, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and many other businesses and organisations had already supported cage-free egg buying, the group said.

London Food Link Network pledged to publish an update table on councils’ progress on ethical and health issues related to food in September. Achieving a Good Egg Award would help a council make progress in this league table, it added.

‘Prone to afflictions’

“No hen should live in a cage,”​ said Ross Compton, coordinator of the London Food Link Network. “Caged hens experience unacceptable and unnecessary suffering. Cages fail to properly meet a hen’s needs, as restricted space means they cannot run, fly or even flap their wings, and as a result may be more prone to afflictions including brittle bones and the food-poisoning bug salmonella.

“We are also concerned that caged hens may be routinely treated with antibiotics, contributing to the alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that now threatens human health.”

According to the British Egg Information Council, eggs from caged hens in 2013 still accounted for 51% of the total egg market and 47% of the retail market.

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