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Factory Farming

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the welfare conditions of (a) factory farmed poultry, (b) egg-laying hens in battery cages and (c) factory farmed fish. (71820)

This Government are committed to high standards of farm animal welfare. In Great Britain, we have some of the strictest legislation in the EU to protect the welfare of farmed animals.

The State Veterinary Service (SVS) conducts regular programmed inspections of farmed premises to check the welfare of poultry. All complaints and allegations about poor welfare on-farm are investigated. In addition, a range of Government-funded research and advisory programmes are supporting our commitment to high standards of animal welfare.

The Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) undertakes regular inspections of premises in England and Wales to check on the health and welfare of farmed fish and shellfish. Defra has funded a number of research projects on fish welfare. This includes work to develop a non-invasive procedure that can be used by fish farmers to establish whether the welfare of their fish has been compromised.