THE often controversial pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon, whose Devonshire hotel in Skipton has often been criticised for the late-night noise its customers create in the Yorkshire Dales market town, has been given a major internationl award - for using free-range eggs in its food menus.
Improving animal welfare practice makes good business sense
Rowen West-Henzell - Compassion in World Farming
Wetherspoon's, the biggest pub chain in England, specialises in cheap beer and food and is not always popular with its rivals in the catering trade, particularly in small market towns when local pubs and restaurants find it difficult to compete.
This has not effected the judges from the charity Compassion in World Farming, which yesterday (March 20) awarded the chain one of its "Good Egg" awards for its policy of using only eggs from free-range or barn-reared hens.
The group is in very posh company: other recipients include Marks & Spencer, the Eden Project in Devon, and the in-house catering staffs of Microsoft UK and Google.
"The Good Egg Awards aim to recognise companies that are making significant progress on the welfare of egg laying hens," says Rowen West-Henzell, Food Policy Officer at Compassion in World Farming.
"Improving animal welfare practice makes good business sense. We know from surveys of European public opinion that laying hens are one of the top animals that consumers are concerned about, so eggs are a good place to start. It's great to see leading companies responding to their customers concerns so well."
Free range eggs have become the centre of a major political debate in recent weeks, following the outbreak of avian 'flu at a Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Suffolk and, as we reported yesterday, the launching of a widespread investigation into allegations that millions of eggs sold under the free-range label in the UK have in fact been imported from battery farms in Europe.