Charles Mears and Lucy GavaghanCharles Mears and Lucy Gavaghan

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Gavaghan – who was the catalyst that prompted major supermarkets to stop selling eggs from caged hens – has been given a tour of a commercial free-range poultry farm.

Lucy visited Charles Mears’ RSPCA-assured Wood Farm, Waresley, Bedfordshire, where the fourth-generation farmer runs 28,000 free-range hens producing 25,000 eggs/day.

See also: All major retailers committed to cage-free eggs by 2025

Lucy and her mum, Jenny, toured the tree-covered ranges and visited the sheds, egg-packing station and also the mill, where the family mixes their own feed for their hens.

“It was really important for me to see a commercial farm and I was really impressed. The hens looked really happy and healthy, just how all hens should be.

“I know there will be some resistance to what I am trying to achieve – an end to hens being kept in cages – so it was great to speak to a commercial farmer like Charles. I hope to meet more people in the industry and get their backing too.”

Impressed

Mr Mears said he was impressed with the way Lucy’s petitioning – which garnered nearly half a million signatures – had led to changes among the multiple retailers.

“Lucy has really made the supermarkets sit up and take notice. She’s managed to open doors to make a real impact and proved she is a force to be reckoned with.

“The welfare of the hens is our top priority. We think happy hens produce quality eggs, so it’s great that the industry has someone like Lucy pushing for change.”

Rio Mellor, RCPA Assured assessor, called Lucy’s campaign a phenomenal victory for animal welfare.

In early September, Lucy was awarded the RSPCA/Daily Mirror Young Animal Enthusiast of the Year award for 2016.