One of our main corporate outreach programs has been the Cage-Free Campaign that is backed by 14 German animal protection organizations which allow us to negotiate with companies on their behalf.
In the last years, we played the main role in getting food companies to abandon the sale and use of cage eggs (including egg products). The campaign has developed a momentum of its own: Many companies have decided to go cage-free just because their peers did it. This makes it hard to track our influence. We decided to be very conservative in doing so, counting only companies that we are sure to have had a major (usually the only) impact on.
In 2017, 11 businesses completely phased out cage eggs due to our negotiations. The number of hens we potentially impacted through this work is very hard to estimate. While revenue numbers are usually available, getting numbers on egg usage is mainly impossible. In general, we are putting the strongest focus on the market leaders of each industry.
In 2016, we have started to take a more international approach: We worked with The Humane League (THL) to get an international cage-free commitment from food giant Mondelez and we started negotiations with all internationally active German supermarket chains. By now, all of the large chains (Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Lidl, Kaufland, and REWE Group) have made commitments about going cage-free in every country in which they are established. Additionally, we secured a commitment from Norma France and Spar AT (including Italy, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia). We also joined the Open Wing Alliance and are looking forward to securing more international commitments with the members of the alliance.
Higher welfare-standards in the cage-free system
Even though battery cages have been mostly abolished in Germany, the lives of laying hens are still miserable. We therefore mobilized German retailers to further improve their welfare.
We convinced the retailers to stop beak searing and we are continuing to push for higher welfare standards in cage-free systems. This will not only affect the 40 million laying hens in Germany—it will also affect nearly all of the 30 million laying hens in the Netherlands, as well as 10 million more in other European countries. This success has been achieved by working exclusively through German retailers to influence the KAT system, since all suppliers to grocery stores in Germany have to comply with the standards of the KAT system. Germany imports a large number of eggs from other European countries because the demand for eggs cannot be satisfied by domestic supply.