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Dramatic reduction of hens in cages in Sweden

Photo: Kimberly Boyles/Shutterstock

Preliminary figures obtained by Djurens Rätt show a continued strong reduction in the number of hens living in cages in Sweden. In just one year, 230 000 fewer individuals are forced to live in small cages, where they are not even able to spread their wings. Djurens Rätt continues to work until the last 300 000 hens won’t have to live in cages and to have legislation against cages established in Sweden.

In just one year, the proportion of hens in cages has decreased from 6 % to 3,5 %, which means a decrease of approximately 230 000 individuals. In total, there are approximately 8.7 million hens in egg factories in Sweden. The reduction in the number of hens in cages is due to several large companies and producers phasing out the cage eggs, following a dialogue with Djurens Rätt, and due to reduced demand from consumers. Cage holding is now for the first time the least common form of production for the egg industry. In the past, free-range outdoors have been less common than cages.

Many of the cage eggs that remain on the market are hidden as ingredients in other products such as sauces, pastries and more. And even though many consumers and companies are already opting for none cage eggs, Djurens Rätt wants to see a change in the law that prohibits keeping chickens in cages.

It is remarkable that there seems to be a lack of political will to ban cages when the development both among consumers and among companies speaks such a clear language. A cage ban is no longer something controversial but something that is even going on throughout the EU, says Camilla Bergvall, President of Djurens Rätt.

Several countries have taken measures against cage eggs before Sweden

Internationally, the will to legislate is bigger. In Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the keeping of chickens in cages has been banned. In the EU, there will probably be a cage ban in the next few years, given the successful citizens' initiative End the Cage Age. Djurens Rätt believes that Sweden should take the lead and act proactively rather than be forced to ban cages when the EU decides on it.

A cage ban has strong support from the population and there are very few interests that would end up in a pinch. Other egg production is available in the country and it is becoming increasingly easier to choose other alternatives than eggs on the plate. If the politicians do not address it, I urge the Swedish Board of Agriculture to review the regulations to give the hens the right to move freely, Camilla Bergvall concludes.

Djurens Rätt has worked for a long time to get rid of hens in cages both in Sweden and internationally. In 2021, the organization could announce that all food chains has stopped selling cage eggs after dialogue with Djurens Rätt. In the same year, Sweden's largest egg packer Kronägg also came out with a cage egg-free policy.

Animals kept in cages is cruel, unnecessary and has no place in today's society. Thanks to your support, we can get rid of the cages once and for all.

Anna Harenius

Anna Harenius | Sakkunnig

21 januari 2022

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