14 February 2007, 21:40 PM
  • Hard-hitting new adverts that show images of laying hens kept in wire battery cages have been rolled out by the RSPCA to convince shoppers not to buy eggs from caged hens.

The adverts will feature in several national glossy magazines to coincide with Shrove Tuesday (20th February) when eggs are purchased en masse to make the nation’s pancakes.

The RSPCA is opposed to keeping hens in cages because they do not allow the birds enough room to stretch or flap their wings properly, or move around freely. There has been an encouraging increase in the sales of higher welfare eggs over recent years, but about 19 million hens are still kept in cages in Britain and eggs from caged hens still account for 63% of eggs produced in the UK. The RSPCA is appealing to consumers to buy barn or free-range eggs, especially those bearing the RSPCA’s Freedom Food logo.

Alice Clark, RSPCA scientific officer, said, “Our adverts feature images of birds in wire cages to try to prick the consciences of shoppers in the hope that they will not buy eggs from hens kept in conditions like these. We are asking shoppers to choose eggs from hens kept in higher welfare conditions such as barn or free-range, preferably those that bear the RSPCA Freedom Food logo. The hens laying these eggs have more room to move around, stretch their wings and the opportunity to perform other natural behaviours.”