Britain's supermarkets are to ban the sale of eggs from battery hens amid a growing consumer backlash over the impact of cheap food on animal welfare.
Sainsbury, Morrisons and the Co-op said this weekend that they would ban or phase out the sale of eggs from caged hens. Eggs from battery hens have already been removed from Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.
The move is likely to mean that within three years most supermarkets will sell only eggs from barn, free range and organic hens.
The move coincides with a campaign by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to persuade consumers to demand better welfare for hens.
Sainsbury, which Oliver promotes, said it expected to end the sale of all eggs from caged hens, which account for a quarter of its egg sales, by next year.
The Coop is expected to announce a similar move and Morrisons said it planned to stop selling eggs from caged hens in its own brand eggs by 2010.
Asda insists that it is "working hard" to phase out the use of eggs from caged hens, but has not set a deadline. Tesco said it was reducing shelf space for eggs from caged hens and it will now come under renewed pressure to announce a ban. ( Times )