Poultry: Animal Welfare

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th November 2010.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what factors she will take into account in determining whether beak trimming of laying hens can be ended in 2016.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Beak Trimming Action Group, comprising representatives from industry, welfare groups, DEFRA, scientific and veterinary professions will be reconvened at the start of next year. It will be tasked with establishing an action plan to work towards a ban on routine beak trimming of laying hens in 2016. The review will consider results of on-going research projects that are investigating practical and realistic ways to rear laying hens without the need for beak trimming and will consider the outcome of industry study tours to those European countries where they do not beak trim. As the impact of feather pecking is greatest in systems of management which do not house birds in cages, the risk to the welfare of laying hens from injurious pecking is likely to increase after the ban on conventional cages comes into force on 1 January 2012. A review in 2015 will allow producers time to increase their experience of managing flocks in alternative systems.

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