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Sainsbury's is set to become the first of the four largest supermarkets in the UK to stop selling eggs from battery hens. Starting February 5, Britain's third largest grocery chain will sell only eggs from uncaged birds. Some of the groceries have been moving more quickly to catch the market. Marks & Spencer and Waitrose have already stopped selling eggs from caged hens. Sainsbury's has advanced its timetable to switch in order to take advantage of the public interest.
The European Union has banned battery cages as of 2012. Farmers fear that four years is not enough to change over more than 60% of the existing egg industry. The government's environment department estimates that now 63% of eggs produced in the UK are from battery farms while 32% are free range. The remaining 5% are barn eggs from birds reared indoors, without cages.
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Caged hens have no perch or litter to peck and no space to flap their wings or move properly. They cannot do any of the activities, such as nesting and foraging, that free range chickens can do.
This practice was the subject of a huge campaign last year by famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Due to their high profile, this issue became prominent and groceries started changing over. The move by Sainsbury's will be a significant coup over its competitors. Now Tesco, Asda and Morrisons will be under pressure to follow this example. The Telegraph