Protesters today staged sit-ins in the egg aisles of Sainsbury’s supermarkets in London and cities across Britain in protest at the treatment of hens.
Many eggs which were previously labelled “free range” because they roam outside are now being reared in barns because of fears over avian flu.
There had been a grace period in which producers were still permitted to label the eggs “free range” but they will from now be described as “barn eggs”.
Members of Animal Rebellion claim the way the eggs are being produced is unacceptable and that producers should be concentrating on plant-based foods.
One of the protests took place at Sainsbury’s Cromwell Road branch in west London, on Saturday lunchtime.
Other sit ins were held at the same time in cities including Bristol and Nottingham.
A statement from the group said: “In a coordinated mass action, individuals from the climate and animal group Animal Rebellion have occupied the supermarket egg aisle of Sainsbury’s in multiple cities, including London, Bristol, Manchester, and Nottingham.”
They held placards calling for the UK to adopt a “safer, sustainable” plant-based food system free from the spread of animal related diseases, animal suffering, climate breakdown and food shortages.
Daniel Juniper, 27, who took part in one of the protest said: “As a nation of animal lovers, we do not like to think of animals suffering for our food. But this is the reality for millions of chickens, and other animals, in the UK.
“Labels like ‘free range’ and ‘RSPCA Assured’ are deliberately misleading the consumer into thinking we are buying in line with our values, but in the egg industry RSPCA-accepted practices include gassing or grinding up day-old chicks whilst they are still alive.
“There is a kinder alternative, a plant-based food system.”
Sainsbury’s has been approached for comment.