Livestock: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th September 2019.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the merits of banning the caging of farmed animals.

Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Parliamentary Under-Secretary (jointly with the Department for International Development)

The issue of cages for farmed animals is one in which the government is taking a close interest. We have already banned cages or close confinement systems where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare. We banned the keeping of calves in veal crates in 1990, sixteen years before the rest of the EU. We banned the keeping of sows in close confinement stalls in the UK in 1999, and conventional battery cages for laying hens in 2012. I am pleased that the UK has by far the largest free range laying hen sector of any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

The government is actively looking into the use of cages and we will be considering the full range of options that are available for future reform.

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