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Noble Foods commits to 100 per cent cage-free following welfare allegations

Egg supplier Noble Foods has committed to 100 per cent cage-free eggs by 2025.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Noble Foods commits to 100 per cent cage-free following welfare allegations

The announcement came only three days after campaign group Animal Equality accused the producer of repeatedly breaching animal welfare laws at Walston Poultry Farm, Dorset.

 

The farm supplies caged eggs to Noble Foods, a brand of eggs under the Big & Fresh logo sold by Tesco, Asda and Morrisons. Noble Foods also owns Happy Egg, the biggest free-range brand and Gü Puds.

 

Undercover filming appeared to show hens with feather loss and raw skin living amongst dead birds, with cages stacked up to seven high in windowless sheds.


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Footage from the hidden cameras at Walston Poultry Farm, Dorset.
Footage from the hidden cameras at Walston Poultry Farm, Dorset.

The allegations came to light after the group visited the unit’s main site in East Down, Blandford Forum, five times in six weeks between January and March 2018.

 

It found the caged hens were only checked once in four days, a breach of UK government law which states birds must be inspected at least once a day.

 

The investigation added weight to a 4.3 day protest by animal protection group The Humane League which has been campaigning outside the suppliers London offices this week asking for it to go 100 per cent cage-free.

 

Almost half of all eggs produced in the UK come from caged hens, but Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and The Co-op do not sell caged eggs either whole or as ingredients in other products.

A Noble Foods spokesman said: “Noble Foods has today (March 20) announced a group-wide commitment to supplying cage-free eggs by 2025.

 

“This announcement comes as the culmination of months of planning to achieve the realities of moving to solely cage-free production.

 

“Noble has been working closely with its retail partners and the farming community to ensure a smooth transition.”

 

Dorset County Council Trading Standards is investigating the allegations.

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