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Laying Hens

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to stop the use of enriched cages to house laying hens; and on what basis this decision was made. [110917]

The Government plan to review the future of enriched cages on an EU basis, when the Agriculture Council next considers the welfare of laying hens directive in 2005. By then it is hoped we will be in a stronger position to address some of the questions on the welfare concerns of enriched cages, as research programmes are completed and for any changes to apply to all EU producers, not just those in the UK, thus avoiding the associated risk of simply displacing production.This decision was taken after a thorough consideration of the responses to a three-month public consultation, and the available economic, scientific and veterinary evidence.