EUROVO, one of Europe’s largest egg businesses, has taken a significant step towards cage-free production by saying it will phase out the practice in its Italian-owned farms by 2022.

The firm also said it would phase out the use of combi systems by 2025 and improve conditions in its aviary barn systems.

See also: 85% of global 2020 cage-free egg commitments fulfilled

In addition, Eurovo will add ramps between tiers and partitions and doors will be removed in existing systems.

It also put its weight behind the ‘End The Cage Age’ campaign calling for an end to caged-hen systems across Europe by writing to trade body Copa Cogeca in support of it.

Italy was traditionally a country in Europe with a high proportion of hens in caged systems.

But figures from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) suggest that is changing, with a reported 60% of hens now in cage-free systems in the country, up from 40% four years ago.

Necessary changes

Eurovo Group’s Silvia Lionello said: “At Eurovo we prefer to implement welfare rather than to talk about it.

“Therefore, we plan and make the changes necessary to continuously increase the freedom and the welfare of our farms, in respect of our hens, clients and consumers.”

CIWF’s Elisa Bianco added: “Eurovo’s commitment to move away from cages and combination systems represents a milestone in improving the welfare of hens in Italy.

‘Important decision’

“We would like to congratulate them for making this important decision and are extremely encouraged by their roadmap for change and their willingness to collaborate on such an important issue.

“Their commitment provides an excellent example for others to follow and one which we hope will drive further change across the egg industry in Italy and the rest of Europe too.”