German animal rights campaigners call for consumers to resist cookies unless they know that the hens that laid the eggs that were used to make them haven't been tortured.
Eighty percent of Germans want egg laying hens to be happy
The Green Party faction in the German parliament this week introduced a motion calling for a labeling scheme, which is already in effect for eggs, be extended to all finished products that contain eggs. Fifty percent of all eggs consumed are processed. In support of the parliamentary motion, the German Society for the Protection of Animals launched a pre-Christmas campaign at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.
Fifty percent of eggs consumed are in finished products
"We welcome this parliamentary initiative and expect all parliament factions to support the motion," said the society's president, Wolfgang Apel, who went on to explain that over 80 percent of the German population was against battery egg farming and had thus made an irrevocable choice.
The society supports a reliable labeling scheme where the product's ingredients and their origin are made clear. Then, it hopes, consumers will be able to use their buying-power to boycott eggs from caged chickens if they so choose. Since January 2004, all supermarket eggs have had a barcode with their particular number, as well as a company code and the stall number. In July 2005, the law was extended to eggs sold on weekly markets.
No Christmas goodies if the eggs are battery-farmed
Eggs have to be clearly labelled under law
In the run-up to Christmas, the society is calling on all consumers to not buy seasonal cookies or eggnog unless they know where the ingredients originate in case they contain battery-farmed eggs.
The society's statistics claim that five billion eggs from battery cages are used on an annual basis in products such as eggnog, pasta or cakes.
The boxes in which eggs are sold must also be clearly labeled. On weekly markets, however, where one third of Germany's eggs are bought, animal rights campaigners and Germany's Green party have warned that the eggs in the baskets do not always correspond to the posters showing happy hens and that customers have to be vigilant to check the numbers or ask the stallholders.