Protesters staged sit-ins in the egg aisles of Sainsbury’s supermarkets in London and cities across Britain today to protest the treatment of chickens.
Many eggs that were previously labeled “free range” because they roamed outside are now being kept in barns for fear of bird flu.
There was a grace period where producers were still allowed to label eggs as “range eggs”, but from now on they will be described as “barn eggs”.
Animal Rebellion members say the way eggs are produced is unacceptable and that producers should focus on plant-based foods.
One of the protests took place at Sainsbury’s Cromwell Road branch in west London at lunchtime on Saturday.
At the same time, other sit-ins were taking place in cities such as Bristol and Nottingham.
A statement from the group said: “In a coordinated mass action, people from the animal and climate group Animal Rebellion have occupied the egg aisle of Sainsbury’s supermarket in a number of cities, including London, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham.”
They held banners calling on the UK to adopt a “safer and more sustainable” plant-based food system, free from the spread of animal-related diseases, animal suffering, climate change and food shortages.
Daniel Juniper, 27, who participated in one of the protests, said: “As a nation of animal lovers, we don’t like to think that animals suffer 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 accordance with our values, but in the egg industry, RSPCA accepted practices include gassing or grinding day-old chicks while they are still alive.
“There is a kinder alternative, a plant-based food system.”
Sainsbury’s has been contacted for comment.