Noble Foods - the UK's largest egg producer which currently has around 4.3 million hens in cages - has announced its commitment to moving to solely cage-free egg production by 2025.
The decision comes days after leading international animal protection agency Animal Equality released footage showing immense animal suffering filmed on a Noble Foods caged-hen farm in Dorset.
The announcement also follows a six-month long campaign by The Humane League UK, launched in October last year. More than 68,000 people signed a petition calling on Noble Foods to go cage-free.
Dr. Toni Shephard, Animal Equality's Executive Director in the UK, said: "While cage-free doesn’t mean cruelty-free, Noble Foods is taking an important step toward improving conditions for animals who suffer tremendously on industrialised farms.
"Cramming birds in cages is a horrific practice. Studies have shown that birds are social and sensitive creatures with intelligence on par with a toddler.
"Yet they are forced to live in filthy wire cages no semblance of a natural life nor the ability to engage in most natural behaviours."
Footage from Animal Equality's investigation
Pru Elliott, The Humane League’s Head of Campaigns, added: "It is truly fantastic to see that Noble Foods is recognising that cages are a thing of the past.
"Consumers and concerned citizens across the country have been demanding better conditions for hens in their care, and now our message has been heard loud and clear: the public simply won’t stand for animal cruelty.
"This marks a historic landmark in the UK and it is clear that so-called enriched cages are soon to be consigned to the history books.
"As the UK’s leading egg producer, Noble Foods’ commitment to go 100 percent cage-free will impact the lives of millions of hens for the better."
A statement by Noble Foods said: "Noble Foods has announced a group-wide commitment to supplying cage-free eggs by 2025.
"This announcement comes as the culmination of months of planning to achieve the realities of moving to solely cage-free production.
"Noble has been working closely with its retail partners and the farming community to ensure a smooth transition."