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Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much it would cost to introduce enriched cages for hens by 2012; and if she will make a statement on the implications for production costs of alternative production methods recently researched by her. [122648]

A Regulatory Impact Assessment was carried out for the implementation of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002. Given an industry estimate of £14.86 per bird and assuming that 10.2 million laying hens would transfer from conventional cages to enriched cages, we believe that it would cost around £151.6 million net present value. Further economic assessments of production methods will be made in preparation for the 2005 Review of Directive 1999/74/EC.