A schoolgirl’s petition against selling eggs from caged and barn kept eggs is beginning to bother the biggest UK supermarket chain Tesco. The petition started by fourteen year old schoolgirl Lucy Gavaghan on the online platform Change.org is gathering momentum with over 76,000 people signing the campaign. Ms Gavaghan,who has three rescue hens, started the petition after an unsuccessful letter-writing campaign.
Writing on her petition page, she says very few consumers understand the egg production industry: “Lots of eggs sold to us in stores come from hens kept in barns and ‘enriched cages’. Conditions are cramped and very restrictive. The hens never see the light of day or get to experience a natural lifestyle.” Barn systems do not represent much of an improvement, she adds.
Ms Gavaghan sites the efforts of other major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencers and Waitrose in her petition to Tesco boss Dave Lewis. These supermarkets have stopped selling caged hen eggs almost an year ago. Recently fast food chain McDonalds has also inclined towards non caged hen eggs following pressure from consumers.
Responding to the petition a spokesperson for Tesco said that the company has a high level of commitment towards animal welfare and its egg suppliers are fully compliant with the Lion assurance scheme, as well as meeting additional Tesco welfare standards. “Eggs from caged hens are clearly labelled as such, so that shoppers can make an informed decision on what they wish to buy,” the spokesperson added.
A box of 15 Tesco Everyday Value Eggs from caged hens retails at £1.25, or 8p/egg on its website. This compares with £2.00, or 13.3p/egg, for 15 own-brand free-range eggs, and £2.00 or 20p/egg for 10 Happy Eggs.