British Hen Welfare Trust

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The British Hen Welfare Trust (formerly the Battery Hen Welfare Trust) is the United Kingdom's first registered charity solely for laying hens. It was started in April 2005 and was established in order to raise awareness of the 20 million hens kept in cages in the UK at that time. The founder of the Trust is Jane Howorth MBE.[1]


The aim of the charity is to reduce consumer demand for battery (factory farmed) eggs whilst promoting British farmers using welfare-friendly systems.

This also includes educating consumers on the foods in which factory-farmed eggs are used that are perhaps not quite as obvious. For example:

Chocolates (fondant filled)
Ready made Yorkshire Puddings
Ready made Pancakes
Ready meals (TV dinners)

Approximately 65% of UK battery eggs are used by food manufacturers.

The Trust is unique in that it seeks to work with farmers instead of condemning them. It does not concur with any extremist views or tactics and is not associated with any other organisation or group linked in any way to battery hens.

The BHWT rescues ex-battery hens and rehomes thousands of them every year. To date, over 300,000 ex-battery hens have been rehomed through the Trust, however any hens that are too ill to be rehomed, remain at the Trust's headquarters in Devon as permanent residents. The majority of the hens are re-homed on the day they are rescued for two reasons: so that they can settle into their new home as soon as possible and more importantly so that the rescued hen can act as an ambassador for the ones left behind. The Trust says that there is no better education than watching an ex-battery hen's confusion and bewilderment turn into wonderment at their new environment.


The Trust has successfully campaigned to change the food industry, convincing Cadbury to change the eggs it uses in its Crème Eggs from battery to free range eggs and Hellmanns to use only free-range eggs in its mayonnaise.


Patrons of the charity include Jamie Oliver, Pam Ayres, Amanda Holden, the Duchess of Richmond and Antony Worrall Thompson.


The British Hen Welfare Trust also has its own award, the "Eggsellence Award". This is given to eating establishments all over the UK who exclusively use British free-range eggs. It can be awarded to Michelin-starred restaurants, Garden Centres, Tea Rooms, local pubs and roadside cafés.


  1. ^ New Years Honours list 2016

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