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Happy hens Switzerland’s biggest retailer to sell only free-range eggs by 2020

brown and white hens outside

Switzerland was in 1991 the first country to ban battery egg farming.

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s biggest retailer Migros has announced it will by the end of 2020 sell only eggs from free roaming hens, according to Le Matin Dimanche newspaper. 

Migros will sell only eggs from hens that each have access to 2.5 square metres of open field, as well as a covered outdoor winter garden. 

This means it will phase out eggs from farms where the hens do not have access to a field, which currently make up 30% of its stock. Migros stopped selling battery farm eggs 20 years ago. 

The move is designed both to promote animal welfare and adapt to consumer demand. “Several surveys show that consumers attach a lot of importance to the wellbeing of the animal when they buy eggs,” says a Migros statement. 

Not all producers are happy, but the newspaper says this decision is nevertheless in line with a general trend in the industry towards more freedom for laying hens. Nestlé, for example, announced in November that it would stop using eggs from caged hens in any of its products worldwide as of 2025. 

Switzerland’s other main supermarket chain Coop told Le Matin Dimanche that it aims to raise the proportion of organic and free-roaming hen eggs in those that it sells, even if it has not yet decided to stop selling anything else. Like Migros, it does not sell battery eggs. 

swissinfo.ch/jc

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