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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 00:08 GMT
Sainsbury's battery-free pledge
Battery hens
Sainsbury's is taking action because of 'customer concerns'
Sainsbury's has pledged to stop selling battery-farmed eggs by 2012.

The supermarket chain says its eggs will either be "free range" from hens which roam outside or "barn eggs" from hens in sheds with natural light.

No date for the switchover has been confirmed and a spokesman said converting its eggs required "considerable" forward planning.

The chain, which sells 600 million eggs a year, said the pledge comes in response to customer concerns.

A spokeswoman said they intended to source as many eggs as possible from free range hens but said some would come from "barned hens".

Code

She said the hens would be free to roam within barns and none would be caged.

Sainsbury's trading director Mike Coupe said: "Sainsbury's is firmly committed to phasing out all its caged eggs ahead of 2012, and is currently working with its egg suppliers to achieve 100% UK cage-free eggs as soon as possible."

The chain said it took a number of steps to ensure the free range eggs it currently sells were genuine and not mislabelled battery eggs.

It said all its free range eggs were labelled with a code which indicates the farm they have come from.

'Significant progress'

It also carries out regular audits and checks to ensure free range standards are kept up by supplier farms.

Sainsbury's was one of several retailers commended in Compassion in World Farming's first "good egg" awards on Monday.

The animal welfare group named companies making "significant progress" in improving the welfare standards of laying hens.

It also commends McDonald's, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Pret A Manger, JD Wetherspoon, The Eden Project in Cornwall and the in-house catering of Microsoft UK and Google.


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