Skip to main content

Hens

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to implement the recommendations of the draft of the European convention published by the Council of Europe in 1971 in respect of minimum space requirements for hens; and if he will make a statement.

We have no such plans. This draft has been overtaken by the final convention for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, published in 1976, and the recommendation made under it on 21 November for laying hens.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has conducted any research to establish how much space a caged hen requires in order to perform all her natural functions; and if he will make a statement.

There has been much research into the space requirements of laying hens both in this country and in other member states of the European Community. This work is continuing. During the review of the battery hens directive, we will be pressing the Commission to take account of this research which indicates that a significant increase in the minimum space allowance for caged birds is required.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to seek to bring poultry within the provisions of the Protection of Birds Act 1954; and if he will make a statement.

The provisions of this Act have been superseded by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Provisions for laying hens kept in battery cages are covered by Community law. It is my intention that all laying hens should be so covered. The battery hens directive requires the Commission to report on all systems of keeping laying hens by the end of 1992 and to bring forward appropriate proposals.