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Poultry Industry

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many enriched poultry cages have been introduced to replace battery cages in the poultry industry since 2001. (101230)

The information requested is not available. However, DEFRA estimates that 600,000 birds are now kept in enriched poultry cages. A further 250,000 birds are kept in conventional cages installed during 2001-02 which could be easily converted to enriched cages.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking in conjunction with the poultry industry to ensure that the 2012 ban on battery cages is met. (101231)

The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 bans the conventional cage from 2012. Laying hens may only be kept in enriched cages or non-cage systems after this date. Any further changes to systems of production must be made at European Union level.

All poultry keepers must be acquainted with DEFRA's Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Laying Hens. The code makes it clear that, under regulation 10 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2000, hens may not be kept in conventional cages from 1 January 2012. The code is available on the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/lavers/index.htm.

DEFRA has also been looking in more detail at the welfare aspects of enriched cages through its research programme. Projects have involved collaboration with the poultry industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that annual inspection charges do not undermine the competitiveness of the UK poultry industry. (103596)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten) on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 1585W.