July 29, 2009
Corporate Social Responsibility in the Indian Food Retail Industry
Animal welfare concerns are at the cutting edge of the global food retail industry.
As a result of European consumers' outrage about the conditions under which laying hens are kept, barren battery cages will be banned in the European Union (E.U.) beginning in 2012. In the interim, as public opposition to inhumane animal agriculture practices rises, an increasing number of E.U. supermarkets and restaurants are offering meat, eggs, and dairy products produced with standards for more humane care. Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and Marks and Spencer are just a few of the large retail chains refusing to purchase eggs that come from battery-caged hens.
In response to a campaign spearheaded by The Humane Society of the United States, America is increasingly moving away from battery cages for laying hens. A growing number of Americans are letting the industry know they won't accept this inhumane treatment of farm animals. On college campuses, in institutional kitchens, in restaurants, and among rank-and-file grocery shoppers, cage-free eggs are coming into their own. Sales of cage-free eggs to grocery shoppers increased 150 percent in three years by the industry's own calculations. Read more about the cage-free trend in the United States.
This momentum in favour of meaningful protection for food animals will continue to grow and promises to spread to India. India is home to thousands of animal protection groups and innumerable consumers who are deeply concerned about the welfare of animals. HSI is actively educating Indian consumers about the realities of battery cage egg production in India.
Egg-laying hens spend their lives confined in small, wire battery cages [PDF] stacked several tiers high and extending down long rows. Each cage is so cramped that the birds are unable to stretch their wings, walk, or engage in many of their natural behaviors. More than 200 million laying hens in India are confined in this manner at any given time. These animals produce 80 percent of the eggs consumed within the country. Seventy-five percent of eggs are consumed by 25 percent of the country's population, specifically those living in urban areas. Many of these urban consumers can afford to pay a higher price for food produced in a more natural, healthful, and ethical manner.
Learn more about HSI's campaign to end battery cage use. Then join the hundreds of supermarkets, restaurants, and other food service providers around the world in taking a stand against battery cage cruelty. Sign the No-Battery-Egg Pledge [PDF]. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9212487888.