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Improving welfare of laying hens

If you're worried about the welfare of the hens that laid the eggs you buy, here's what you can do to help.

trays of eggs ready for packing © RSPCA

Look for the RSPCA Assured label on egg boxes

Please choose eggs labelled 'RSPCA Assured'. RSPCA Assured eggs are produced by cage-free hens reared on farms inspected to our strict welfare standards. If you can't find the RSPCA Assured label, make sure the eggs you buy are labelled barn, free-range or organic.

The cost of choosing eggs from higher welfare systems compared to battery cages can be a matter of a few pennies - a small price to pay for a major welfare improvement!

Egg box labels

The law requires all eggs and their boxes to be labelled with their method of production, either free-range, barn, organic or cage. However, these terms (particularly 'eggs from caged hens') can sometimes be in small print on the back of the box. So don't get caught out by eggs boldly labelled 'Farm Fresh' or 'Healthy Living' - check the packaging carefully for the legally required method of production label.

Eggs as ingredients

Eggs are used as ingredients in many different types of food, including ice cream, mayonnaise, cakes, quiches and sandwiches. None of these legally have to be labelled with how the hens that laid them were kept. However, foods made with cage-free eggs will often be clearly advertised with the information on the packaging or in the ingredients list. If you're not sure, ask the retailer or manufacturer.

Watch our animation to find out how you can help improve the welfare of farm animals by choosing products with the RSPCA Assured label, and read more about choosing higher welfare eggs in our guide to choosing cage-free eggs.

Find out more