Joanna Lumley: Be a good egg. Join me as a free-range warrior

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The Independent Online

Sixty-two per cent of hens in the UK still endure life sentences of frustration and deprivation in the battery cage. How can we let such cruelty continue?

For the past two years, Compassion in World Farming has been engaging with the corporate world, persuading big players to abandon battery eggs and pledge to use eggs from more humane systems – at least from barn-kept hens, though free-range is best.

This Tuesday, a Good Egg award will be given to the National Trust. Yes, all those luscious cakes are made with free-range eggs! Awards also go to Cadbury, Hellmann's, Sainsbury's, City Hall and several county councils, among others. Compassion says 15 million hens annually will be out of cages as a result of its initiative.

Tesco has refused to abandon the battery system, and will get a Rotten Egg award. Next year, I hope it will join its rivals in banning cruelty from food production in its stores.

I am making a two-fold plea to readers. If you are a corporate egg-user, please abandon battery eggs. If you are an individual, do buy free-range eggs, and make sure there is no battery egg in cakes, say, or flans or custards, that you buy in shops or restaurants. Hidden egg is easy to miss, but it's these products that use a large proportion of battery eggs. If in doubt, just ask an assistant or waiter.

So, please join me in becoming a free-range egg warrior. Between us, I have no doubt that we can succeed. Then we can share the joy of changing the lives of so many millions of individual sentient beings for the better: in a way becoming good eggs ourselves.