Humane Society International defends the use of the “cage-free” label on eggs in Brazil

Humane Society International / Brazil


Cage-free chicken in Brazil
HSI

SÃO PAULO—Humane Society International, a leading global animal protection organization, urges the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) to reverse its administrative decision to limit the use of the term “cage-free” on labelling of eggs.  The label allows producers to meet consumers’ constitutional right to be informed about how their food was produced and enables them to choose the product that best meets their needs.  However, MAPA’s new interpretation of labelling requirements could prevent egg producers who use more humane cage-free systems from using the term “cage-free” on their packaging.

HSI submitted a technical legal note to MAPA, arguing that current legislation on inspection and labelling of eggs does not prevent eggs to be labelled “cage-free”, as long as the producer can demonstrate that a cage-free system was used. HSI’s submission also underscores the important role that accurate and complete label information plays in enabling conscious consumers to make informed choices.

Maria Fernanda Martin, HSI/Brazil’s corporate program and policy manager for farm animal welfare, said, “We have received numerous calls from stakeholders concerned with MAPA’s decision. We strongly believe that, on both technical and legal grounds, MAPA should revoke the decision.”

In the last several years, the cage-free movement has grown substantially in Brazil, with more than 100 leading food and hospitality companies having made commitments to use and sell exclusively cage-free eggs in all their operations and products by 2028, 2025 or earlier. Several Brazilian producers have already started cage-free egg production in at least 10 states (Amazonas, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Goiás, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). In 2018 alone, three new egg producers started cage-free production with over 220,000 hens each. Other cage-free producers have expanded their production to meet the demand, and some traditional egg producers have begun to transition their systems to cage-free.

HSI will remain vigilant regarding MAPA’s decision and will continue to work with producers and the industry to transition to cage-free egg production systems.

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Media contact: Maria Fernanda Martin, mfmartin@hsi.org

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