Defra has confirmed it is going to convey ahead consultations on the usage of cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for pigs, following a petition calling for the top to the usage of cages in farming.
Farming minister Victoria Prentis mentioned the consultation on banning cages for laying hens was imminent, however the pig farrowing consultation wanted extra work, significantly to assess the monetary influence the ban would have.
Speaking at a petitions committee debate in parliament, Ms Prentis mentioned the federal government was dedicated to phasing out cages and would help the trade to achieve this.
See additionally: Government should uphold UK requirements in commerce offers, say MPs
“However, we want to work fastidiously and sensitively with the pig and poultry industries, that are each scuffling with some tough enter prices and different challenges for the time being,” she mentioned.
A petition led by lobbying group Compassion in World Farming triggered the talk in parliament on Monday (20 June).
Leading the talk, Conservative MP Matt Vickers mentioned the UK’s fundamental supermarkets had both already stopped promoting eggs from caged hens or have been dedicated to doing so by 2025.
“The authorities should get behind that progressive improvement by banning the usage of these cages to defend the hens that aren’t a part of grocery store provide chains, and by guaranteeing that almost all of British farmers usually are not undercut by farmers nonetheless utilizing cages, whether or not they’re in Britain or exporting to us,” Mr Vickers mentioned.
On farrowing crates, the MP for Stockton South mentioned: “Now is the time to work with the trade to discover a means ahead that protects each piglets and sows, helps our farmers in the course of the transition, and ensures that these farmers stay aggressive.”
Labour MP Daniel Zeichner raised concern about farmers being undercut in commerce offers that the federal government was pursuing.
“It can be important that we be sure that any home manufacturing of animal merchandise, produced by means of greater welfare, cage-free requirements, just isn’t merely undercut and changed by imports from international locations that also use decrease-welfare cage methods,” he mentioned.
Pig sector disaster
Reacting to the talk, Zoe Davies, chief government of the National Pig Association, mentioned Ms Prentis was “nicely conscious of the dire monetary scenario that pig farmers are in”.
“We very a lot recognize due to this fact the place that Defra has taken in phrases of not dashing into any consultation on welfare reform, because the pig sector is at the moment haemorrhaging farmers at an alarming price.”
Ms Davies mentioned it was seemingly to take a few years earlier than these farmers that survived the present disaster have been in a position to make the type of important funding that will be required.
“It was additionally good to see these current on the debate recognise that working with British pig farmers and requiring equivalence on import requirements can be much better than exporting the accountability to one other nation,” she added.
Compassion in World Farming mentioned it was happy consultations can be launched, however referred to as for a transparent timeline. Senior communications director James West mentioned: “We look ahead to having the chance to make the case for phasing out these merciless methods in response to the consultations, so the UK can lastly ‘finish the cage age’.”