2022: Free range for France’s chickens

France’s government announced this week that the sale of eggs from cage-rearing of hens must be banned by 2022. Why the country acts ten years too late and more about egg production, you read here.

The European Union has banned the sale of eggs from hens living in cages since 2012. As part of this political alliance, France has finally announced that it will abolish this type of animal husbandry by 2022. This decision is based on the implementation of the election program of France’s current President Emmanuel Macron.
Some supermarket chains already have responded in advance to this proposal to be approved and switched to the sale of eggs from free-range chickens.

Do other countries conform to the EU regulation?

Ten years too late, but better than not at all. Countries such as Poland, Belgium, Spain, Romania, etc. are still ignoring the regulation adopted in 2012 because they cannot comply with the guidelines.

Another reason for the missing participation is that a binding exit date for the implementation was not decided. Also, some farmers who made their living with caged eggs had difficulty switching to better alternatives in time.

Living in cages: the nightmare of a chicken

  • A maximum of 60 hens may be kept in a cage.
  • Artificial light as replacement
  • a hen can lay more than 300 eggs in one year and is physical effort
  • because of stress, sickness develops and spreads
  • Pecking, pawing, sunbathing is natural behaviour of a hen, but not possible in a cage
  • The life quality of cage-rearing of hens or later lead to behavioural problems such as feather pecking or cannibalism. That’s why some chicks are cut short at an early age.
  • Brothers of female chicks do not even experience this procedure. Male chick is not considered profitable enough and mostly they end up in a shredder, an electro-bath or die through gasification with carbon dioxide.
  • Manufactured products: Factory farming is the rule and not the exception
    In the European, Union Eggs are labelled. So, a consumer is able to decide in which way the animals are kept.
  • Manufactured products such as noodles or cakes may still be produced today in many EU countries with the eggs of hens living in cages

How do I find my egg?
In the European Union, eggs are printed with a code that identifies the type of farming.

  • 0 … ecological attitude

  • 1 … free range

  • 2 … floor keeping

  • 3 … small group cages like laying batteries

  • In addition, the country code is printed on it and a digit to lead to the manufacturer.

    What can be done?

    The labelling tells us something about the production type. However, nothing about production conditions, health status, number of hens or what drugs were used.
    Animal rights activists say that if the health of these animals is important to us, we must stop eating eggs. Not everyone wants that, so what else can be done?

  • more transparency of the manufacturing process
  • A focus on animal welfare
  • Serious checks
  • Binding and consistent targets
  • Consideration of animal-related indicators such as mortality rate, behaviour, parasite infestation, etc.
  • highly qualified owners, comprehensive care and optimal health management.

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