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Battery Hen Farms

Volume 986: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how regularly and at what intervals qualified and experienced veterinary staff visit battery hen farms ; whether the places are chosen for inspection randomly ; and whether the establishments are given advance warning of such inspections.

Government veterinary officers visit hen battery units to carry out welfare inspections as frequently as their many duties permit. Such visits are not normally undertaken according to a prescribed pattern or timetable, but last year arrangements were made for the inspection of some 400 holdings with laying flocks, selected on a random basis. Because of the special nature of this exercise, veterinary officers were instructed to make advance contact with the holding selected. It is normally left to their discretion to decide whether to give prior warning.Veterinary staff also observe the conditions in which animals are kept whenever they visit livestock premises for other official purposes. In addition, all other officers of the Ministry who visit farms are instructed to draw any unsatisfactory welfore aspects they find to the attention of the veterinary service so that specific welfare inspections can be made.