The government has published an updated code of recommendations for broiler chickens following a consultation.
Livestock farmers and employers are required by law to ensure that all those attending to their livestock are familiar with, and have access to, the relevant codes. Although the main aim of the welfare codes is to encourage farmers to adopt high standards of husbandry, they may also be used to back up legislative requirements.
A consultation was launched last year because the code hasn’t been updated since 2002, and the law changed in 2006 when the Animal Welfare Act was brought into force. The code aims to provide clear guidance to those working with broiler chickens about the law and their responsibilities.
Where a person is charged with a welfare offence, failure to comply with the provisions of a welfare code may be relied on by the prosecution to establish guilt.
The consultation received responses from 13 interested parties including businesses, veterinary professionals, welfare charities, and members of the public. The updated draft code was placed in Parliament on 9 January 2018. If there are no objections from Parliament, it will come into force in March 2018.
The draft code can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672509/draft-code-of-practice-welfare-chickens-180109.pdf