Food for thought

SIR - As Shrove Tuesday approaches, we are asking your readers to please spare a thought for the 34 million British hens that lay our eggs every year.

The great news is that more people than ever before are choosing eggs from hens that are not kept in cages.

In fact, for the first time, the UK is producing 50 per cent of all eggs from cage-free systems!

However, this does mean that half of all UK eggs still come from hens kept in cruel battery cages, where the usable space for each bird is less than the size of a piece of A4 paper.

It’s so simple to do your bit to help by only choosing higher welfare eggs, such as barn and free-range, and preferably ones with the Freedom Food label. This means that the eggs have come from hens that have been kept on farms assessed to the RSPCA’s welfare standards, where they can stretch and exercise freely over a large area, dust bath, forage and express other natural behaviours.

While many people are, understandably, tightening their belts during these uncertain times, buying higher welfare eggs may only cost a few pence more – a small price to pay for helping the hens that make our pancakes possible!

So, as well as pondering whether to have sweet or savoury fillings this Pancake Day, why not think welfare, too, and make your pancake a happy one.

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Alice Clark

Senior scientist,

RSPCA Farm Animal Science department