June 22, 2023
From Mercy For Animals
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In response to consumer opposition to cages, CageFree.ca presents consumer data, educational materials, and an action page promoting an end to cage confinement of hens

TORONTO (June 26, 2023) — A new poll, conducted by UK-based Bryant Research in May, reveals a staggering 80% of Canadian respondents consider confining laying hens to “battery” cages unacceptable and 75% oppose the use of so-called enriched cages. Of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed, 79% agree that companies such as restaurants and grocery stores should ban cages in their egg supply chains. In an interview video, Mercy For Animals asked Torontonians whether they knew where their eggs came from, revealing the shock many consumers feel when they learn that the majority of hens in Canada — an estimated 83% — continue to suffer in cruel cage systems. 

Mercy For Animals, one of the world’s most effective charities working to end industrial animal agriculture, is announcing the launch of CageFree.ca to hold the Canadian egg industry accountable and encourage it to ban all cages for hens. CageFree.ca offers a holistic picture of the Canadian egg industry, including facts about how hens are raised, consumer preferences around this issue, and how the egg industry in Canada compares with that of other countries. The website and resources will help Canada take a big step toward improving animal welfare standards and help end the confinement of laying hens in cages across the country. 

“Canada should be at the forefront of animal welfare, but it has fallen behind the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union in prohibiting the use of cages,” said PJ Nyman, corporate policy advisor at Mercy For Animals. “With most companies committed to eliminating cages by 2025, Mercy For Animals’ CageFree.ca makes a strong case for the egg industry to move toward completely banning cages.”

Mercy For Animals Canada acknowledges that cage-free progress has been made. Over 130 food companies have adopted cage-free egg policies, prompted by undercover exposés and campaigns in the 2010s. But unlike in the United States, where conventional battery cages are being phased out in favor of cage-free systems, Canada has opted for larger “enriched” cages as replacements. Despite broad agreement among Canadians that keeping hens in enriched cages is unacceptable, between 2018 and 2022 the percentage of hens in Canada confined to enriched cages increased by more than 17 percentage points. But enriched cages do not meet the welfare needs of chickens. Only slightly larger than conventional battery cages, these cages subject birds to a similar life of confinement and misery.

Given the widespread support for ending cage confinement, many Canadians may be shocked to learn that most major grocery stores still source the majority of their eggs from cage systems, even though deadlines for many companies to meet public promises to be 100% cage-free are only two years away.

“Today, 20 million hens in Canada are still crammed in wire cages,” said Makayla Rosas, corporate campaign specialist at Mercy For Animals. “By continuing to invest in cages, the Canadian egg industry is disregarding consumers’ will and falling behind other countries. Canadians have demanded cage-free, not slightly larger cages. That’s why Mercy For Animals, on behalf of Canadian consumers, is calling for no cages and encouraging food corporations to share progress toward animal welfare goals.” 

To support the campaign to help end the cruel confinement of hens, visit CageFree.ca. Together, Canadian consumers can ensure that every cage is banned and create a kinder future for all farmed animals. “The only way forward is to ban all cruel caging of hens once and for all,” Rosas continued.

Notes to Editors

For more information or to schedule an interview with PJ Nyman, contact [email protected].

Media Resources

  • Nyman’s June 26, 2023, op-ed in the Toronto Star, “Canadians want hens out of cages, not in bigger cages,” can be found here.
  • Link to CageFree.ca website
  • Images of hens in confinement

Mercy For Animals is a leading international nonprofit working to end industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system. Active in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States, the organization has conducted more than 100 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, influenced more than 500 corporate policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at MercyForAnimals.org.




Source: Mercyforanimals.org