ANIMAL rights protesters descended on the region this weekend to urge a supermarket to stop selling eggs from battery-caged hens.

Farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) visited Northallerton, North Yorkshire, their most northerly protest, as part of a week of action throughout the country.

A dozen demonstrators gathered at the town's Tesco supermarket whilst a similar peaceful protest was also held in York. Christina Thomlinson, one of the Northallerton protesters, said the day had been a great success.

She added: "We were very pleased with the level of support from the public. A lot of people were surprised that this is still going on."

More than 100 members of the public signed cards calling for the supermarket to change its egg buying policy and threatening to take their custom elsewhere if they do not.

Gill Sanders, head of campaigns for CIWF, said battery conditions cause immense psychological and physical suffering, leaving hens unable to exercise or to carry out many important natural behaviours.

She added: "Despite the scientific evidence that the battery cage system is cruel and increased public support for free-range farming, Tesco, the largest UK supermarket continues to make no commitment to stop selling battery eggs."

All eggs are marked with a number between zero and three. A three signifies that it has come from a hen kept in battery cages.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "We are actively working to increase the amount of organic and free range eggs that we sell.

"We will continue to offer a range of eggs to our customers which are clearly labelled so that shoppers can make a choice. All suppliers of fresh foods to Tesco must be able to demonstrate that they meet strict and independently audited welfare and production standards."