Djurens Rätt has worked for decades to make cages history. 13 years ago, the organization began a dialogue with ICA, the largest supermarket chain in Sweden, about ending the sale of cage-eggs. At that time, more than 2 million hens in the Swedish egg industry lived in cages. A lot has happened since then and when ICA recently in April 2021 decided to refrain from cage-eggs, all other Swedish supermarket chains were already cage-free. Djurens Rätt now wants the Government to introduce a ban on keeping hens in cages and thus fulfill the Swedish Animal Welfare Act's writings on animals' right to natural behavior.
For several years, Djurens Rätt, as Sweden's leading animal advocacy organization, has worked relentlessly to improve the situation for hens, since they are the most numerous and endure the worst living conditions. One of many successful methods has been by getting food companies to stop using and/or selling eggs from hens in cages. When Djurens Rätt started a dialog with the Swedish grocery store companies in 2008, almost half of all hens in the egg industry were kept in cages. Which then corresponded to more than 2,250,000 individuals. Today that number is down to around 500,000.
Through its advocacy work, Djurens Rätt has inspired grocery store chains such as Hemköp, Lidl, Willy’s, Coop, City Gross and Matrebellerna stop selling eggs from caged hens. However, the dialogue with ICA has been more protracted. But after 13 years, ICA has finally chosen to distance itself from cages, this by discouraging all it’s stores from selling cage-eggs.
A dissuasion is not the same as a clear corporate policy. We are not entirely satisfied with the writing presented by ICA. But thanks to other companies saying no to cage-eggs and consumers' reluctance to buy these, our assessment is that it will be almost impossible for ICA retailers to buy cage-eggs. In this way, we are satisfied with the outcome.
- Nathalie Söderström, Corporate Relations Manager at Djurens Rätt
Djurens Rätt want a legislative ban on cages
In Sweden, the proportion of hens in cages is now down to 6 %, corresponding to around 500,000 hens. They live their lives in cages that are so cramped that they cannot even extend their wings. More than a dozen EU countries and US states have already banned the keeping of hens in cages. In Sweden, consumers and companies have shown that they do not see this as something that belongs to our modern society. The next step is that we get legislation that clarifies just this.
Sweden has an opportunity to show the way for other countries. Cage keeping of hens is standard globally and still in the EU, which is far ahead, every other hen is still trapped in a grid cage. Consumers and companies have done their part. Now it is only political decisions that can open the last cages in Sweden.
- Benny Andersson, CEO of Djurens Rätt
Djurens Rätt would like to thank all grocery store chains in Sweden for their cage-free policies, which has affected the lives of millions of hens - and at the same time send a strong call to the Government to ensure that all hens in Sweden can live more naturally by being freed from cages!