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Poultry: Animal Welfare

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to introduce a ban on the trimming of the beaks of laying hens in England from January 2011. (309414)

The Government have accepted advice from the Farm Animal Welfare Council, an independent advisory body, that a complete ban on beak trimming of laying hens should not be introduced from 1 January 2011 (as is currently in legislation), but should be deferred until it can be demonstrated reliably under commercial conditions that laying hens can be managed without beak trimming, without a greater risk to their welfare than that caused by beak trimming itself.

The Government will shortly issue a consultation on proposed amendments to the Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended) to remove the total ban on beak trimming, to allow for routine beak trimming of day old chicks intended for laying to be done using the infra-red technique only.