Caged hens bred for their eggs currently live in spaces roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper. But the production of eggs in the Czech Republic is about to become more humane in the near future.
By next year, popular online supermarkets Rohlík.cz and Košík.cz have pledged to sell only cage-free eggs.
And by 2025, most other Czech supermarkets and retailers, including major wholesaler Makro and supermarkets like Globus and Lidl, have declared that they will be joining them.
It’s a major victory for animal rights proponents, but it could also mean that egg prices in the Czech Republic will see a marked rise in the upcoming years.
The price of eggs in the Czech Republic is currently the third-lowest in the European Union, with breeders collecting an average of just under 2 crowns per egg (half of the shelf price); only Spain and Lithuania have cheaper eggs.
Across other EU countries, including Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands, caged egg production has already been stopped.
Many Czech egg producers are currently transitioning to cage-free methods, but according to the Czech-Moravian Poultry Association, the total cost for Czech breeders to make the switch to cage-free eggs will come to six billion crowns.
“It is clear that the [cage-free] breeding will come with different input costs for the suppliers, which can be reflected in the price for the end customer,” said Globus spokesperson Rita Gabriel.
“Globus will do its utmost to ensure that the price of eggs for our customers does not radically increase in the future.”
While the switch to cage-free eggs is estimated to raise the price of a single egg to the range of 5-10 crowns (currently, the average consumer price is about 4 crowns), many would argue that it’s a small price to pay for a more humane method of production.