Thursday, January 10, 2008

Battery hens

Do you buy cheap eggs? Shame on you.

A while ago I wrote to Hellman's Mayonnaise asking if they were planning to change the eggs in their mayo to free range, instead of using factory farmed eggs. They replied promptly, but excused themselves by saying that they require so many thousands of eggs that there are not enough free range farmers to supply them. This is an absolutely appalling excuse. If Hellman's said to their suppliers 'This time next year we don't want battery eggs, we want free range' the farmers would fall over themselves to change their methods.

It's very worrying to think of all the 'hidden' battery eggs we consume with out realising, and every egg hidden inside a ready-made cake means a days work for one poor hen in her A4 sized cage.

I have been harping on about this for ages, so it's nice to see Jamie Oliver is following my lead ;-)


Blogger Christian Briddon said...

I thought it was very encouraging a while ago in Sainsburys when there were no free range eggs left and great piles of 'Nornal' eggs. People were looking for eggs and leaving without rather than buying the battery eggs.

Maybe people are learning. :-)

6:27 PM  
Blogger Tony Ruscoe said...

Christian's right. I've seen that too. I wonder if the opposite is true though. If there were no "normal" eggs, would the people who usually buy those just spend a few more pence and get the free range ones? I think the supermarkets should try it out by replacing battery eggs with free range eggs for a week and see what happens.

I currently buy standard free range eggs. If there were none left, I'd buy organic free range eggs instead. I'd never "downgrade" to cheap eggs though. Regardless of how the chickens are treated, they don't taste of anything...

6:57 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Jamie Whoreliver is still happy to take ad money from Sainsburys though, and they're probably the biggest supplier of battery chickens and eggs in the country. If he really cared, he wouldn't be endorsing products which, as you say, probably contain hidden battery eggs.

IIRC, everything M&S sells with egg products in is made with free range eggs*, so that's at least one food supplier playing ball.

*my brother told me this - I haven't fact checked it though.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Christian Briddon said...

Jamie Oliver is actually doing a programme tonight (Friday) on BBC3 I think showing what goes into chicken products sold by Sainsburys.

Some top bod from Sainsburys was on Radio 4 the other day saying that in spite of the programme they are still going to use him for their adverts. Could be interesting!!!

8:41 AM  
Blogger Else said...

If every one of your 945 UK visitors (or does that mean half a dozen of us several times over?! Hope not!) were to write to Hellman's and ask the same question, I bet they'd take notice. As a veggie who still eats cheese and (free range organic) eggs I should do more, and watching the stuff on telly might just be the prompt I need. My meat eating partner and his daughter eat organic meat - yes, more expensive, but they don't eat meat every day. Incidentally, my partner refuses to eat fish/seafood because of concerns about what is being done to the seas. His daughter loves fish - so mealtimes can be interesting, to say the least!

Good luck with the new little bunch of cluckers!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Just to let you know I have been to waitrose this morning and purchased a free range organic chicken for our Sunday lunch. I hope it's nice. I always buy free range and / or organic, but never gave a thought to things like Mayonaise and other ancillary products, but from now on I shall do my very best. I also buy fair trade when possible too.

11:58 AM  

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