Compassion in World Farming have announced, at an event at the Eiffel Tower, that 70 top European companies from 17 countries have received their Good Egg Awards for committing to source only cage-free (barn, free-range or organic) eggs.

These 70 companies currently use altogether over one billion eggs a year, so their new policy will save millions of hens from a life of suffering in the battery cage.

This year’s European winners include the French chef Guy Martin, Lidl in Germany, Calvé mayonnaise in Spain and twelve Italian city councils.

Previous winners of Compassion in World Farming’s Good Egg Awards, now in their third year, include McDonald’s Europe, Unilever, the catering of Google Europe and the European Parliament.

The award has also now been made to some European hospitals and universities.

In 2012 the ban on barren battery cages will come in force, but the so-called ‘enriched cages’, which still seriously compromise laying hen welfare, will be permitted. Good Egg Awards celebrate companies who are choosing cage-free eggs from suppliers who have higher farm animal welfare standards.

Currently, more than two thirds of Europe’s hens are kept in battery cages. Some countries’ national figures, such as Spain and the Czech Republic, rise to 95 per cent and France currently confines 88 per cent of its laying hen flock to cages.

QCA note: watch this space for news on the 2009 British winners soon. Many local councils in this country have now gone cage-free – so now would be a good time to think of persuading your own council to do so in 2010. Contact Compassion for all the help you might need.