Richmond, British Columbia becomes first city in North America to go cage-free

RICHMOND - Last night, the City of Richmond in western Canada voted unanimously to become the first city council in North America to remove eggs from caged hens from all city-run facilities.
calendar icon 29 May 2007
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Council also recommended residents, including restaurants, caterers, retailers and wholesalers, choose certified organic free-range eggs.

"We are thrilled that Richmond is leading the way in reducing the suffering of egg-laying hens in Canada," says Bruce Passmore, the Farm Animal Welfare Project Coordinator for the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS). "We now know why the chicken crossed the road - it was to get to Richmond."

Richmond City Council investigated the option of using only certified organic, free-range whole eggs in city run food services after a presentation by the VHS in the September of last year. About 98 percent of Canada's 26 million egg-laying hens are raised in small wire cages where they can barely move and are unable to flap their wings, dust-bathe, nest or perch.

"I would like to be part of a council that does what we can, in a small way, to make a difference for these animals," said Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt at the Community Safety Committee meeting prior to last night's vote. "Richmond should be proactive and take a leadership role."

Richmond council also accepted a motion to write to the provincial government stating that "council opposes battery cage egg production, based on the inherent cruelty of confining egg-laying hens in battery cages."

"If the City of Richmond can go cage-free, any municipality can," said Passmore. "We challenge communities from coast to coast to coast to meet or exceed Richmond's cage-free resolution."

Photos of Canadian battery and free-range egg farms are available at or by request.

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