Attempts to delay the EU’s proposed ban on conventional cages, due to come into force on Jan. 1, 2012, have been blocked. At a meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers, various countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, all backed calls to ensure that the change was implemented on time.

“Egg producers in the UK, and indeed in many other European countries, have worked hard to convert out of battery cages ahead of the European deadline and have invested considerable sums converting their systems to ensure they meet the strictest possible standards," said British Veterinary Association President Harvey Locke. “The egg industry throughout Europe has had 12 years to prepare for this change in law.”