Corte Inglés to drop eggs from battery hens by 2025

First number stamped on eggs in Spain indicates conditions under which hens are kept. Image: La Vanguardia
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► Spanish retailer to remove from stores own-brand eggs laid by caged hens ►

Spanish department store and supermarket mega-chain El Corte Inglés has announced it will move forward by five years a pledged deadline to end the retail sale of eggs under its own brand names produced in facilities that keep caged hens under round-the-clock “battery farm” conditions in Spain.

The move amounts to a compromise gesture after Spain-based international animal-rights group Igualdad Animal launched a petition drive demanding the retailer halt the sale of all eggs originating in facilities across Spain at which hens are kept caged in cruel and inhumane conditions that cause suffering and death of untold thousands of animals each year.


All eggs sold by retail markets in Spain are required to carry numeric labels that show the conditions under which the eggs were produced, along with the country, region and farm or facility that produced them. The first digit of every numeric code stamped on eggs in Spain shows whether the eggs were laid by hens kept in cages (indicated by the number “3”), or by hens allowed to roam in a yard (number “2”), under free-range (number “1”) or certified ecological conditions (indicated by “0”).

According to 2016 figures from Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment, 92 percent of all eggs sold in Spain last year bore the number “3” designation for hens kept in caged conditions. Spaniards ate an average 131 chicken eggs each last year, just 17 of which were laid by hens kept under ecological or free-range conditions, according to Mercasa, a publisher of Spanish food industry statistics and reports.

The Igualdad Animal petition drive called on Corte Inglés to commit to halting all sales of eggs from hens kept in cages by 2025, in line with pledges from German-owned supermarket competitors Aldi and Lidl, as well as more than 400 companies worldwide. While not committing fully to banning the sale of all eggs from battery hens by 2025, Corte Ingles said in its announcement that currently less than half (47 percent) of eggs sold under its own brand names in its stores are produced by hens kept in cages and that by 2025 no eggs sold under its own brands would carry the number “3” designation.

The company also noted that as a result of a recent agreement signed with ecological co-op producer Coren, effective immediately none of the eggs offered through Corte Inglés cafeterias, restaurants or prepared dishes in the chain’s delicatessen sections would come from hens kept in caged conditions.

► Read More in Spanish at Europa Press, El Independiente and La Vanguardia …

► Read More in English about the work of ‘Igualdad Animal’ worldwide, here …

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