TORONTO – A slew of grocery members of the Retail Council of Canada, including Loblaw, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart and others have joined a growing list of merchants saying they plan to offer only cage-free eggs by the end of 2025.
However, the commitment depends on farmers being able to meet the growing demand for eggs from hens not living in cages.
Egg Farmers of Canada, an organization that represents more than 1,000 egg farms, has previously said that wouldn’t be a problem as other retailers such as McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Starbucks announced plans for cage-free products.
But with grocery store consumers being the No. 1 buyers of eggs in Canada, it was unclear if that still holds true since the timeline for a complete switch from current practice is 2036, and farmers are proposing enriched cages as well as cage-free alternatives.
Egg Farmers of Canada issued a statement Friday saying it looks forward to discussing the benefits of enriched cages with industry partners.
Enriched cages are larger than battery cages, in which about 90 per cent of Canada’s egg-laying hens now live, and allow the birds to exhibit more natural behaviours, the farmers’ organization says. They also protect worker and animal health, according to the organization.
However, animal rights activists say enriched cages still pose cruel conditions.