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Eggs - The Lakes Farm, UK

The Lakes produces free-range eggs with maximum benefit to the well-being of the flock, providing a diverse and sustainable business in a rural environment. It also demonstrates good practice in terms of supplier relations and working closely within a local community.

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Key areas of good practice
Assurance/certification:

All the eggs are produced under the British Egg Industry Council standards and all producers farms are approved under RSPCA's Freedom Foods Scheme and the British Egg Industry Council standards.

Energy efficiency:

The buildings used and recommended by The Lakes for the laying birds are simple to construct and are designed to use the minimum of electricity once operational. They are designed to be multi-purpose, so a future change to the original use of the building would not be a major problem.

Employee health & welfare:

All staff are paid a minimum of 10% above the minimum wage.

Staff receive training and are encouraged to undertake more duties and  responsibilities which is then reflected in their pay.

The business has provided local employment for 60 people, both at the packing  station and on the farm.

Animal Welfare:

All use of medicines throughout the company is therapeutic. No prophylactic use of medicines is undertaken and even wormers are only used after worm sampling has identified the need to do so.

Tree-planting promotes the laying birds to range, encouraging more natural behaviour and fewer welfare issues.

Product quality:

Consistently higher average egg yields are being achieved over the UK standard.

Ecosystem protection:

All supplier farms have a specific biodiversity management plan created by independent advisers, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. All farms must be registered under the DEFRA-funded Entry Level Scheme (ELS), encouraging farmers to deliver simple yet effective environmental management.

Community:

£4 million has been put into the local economy during the last year, through wages, local contracts and spending.

After the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 the area was badly affected and traditional agricultural enterprises were economically unviable. The Lakes has provided local farms with a profitable diversification venture. At present there are 38 local family farms (contract egg producers) which supply free-range eggs to The Lakes.