The British Veterinary Association (BVA), the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA) and Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) have jointly welcomed a New Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens and Pullets which was laid before parliament on 5 June.
The new code is one of a series of welfare codes currently being reviewed and updated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following recent consultations.
BVA President John Fishwick said: “We warmly welcome these updates and we are particularly pleased to see the vital role the veterinary profession plays in maintaining poultry welfare recognised throughout the new code.
“We are also delighted to see the benefits of veterinary surveillance systems highlighted, with owners and keepers encouraged to use local and national disease surveillance sources to better understand poultry disease patterns and their local health and welfare landscape. This was a key element in our joint consultation response and reflects BVA’s recently published Position on veterinary scanning surveillance (animal health and disease monitoring).
“We are also pleased to see signposting within the Code of Practice to the Humane Slaughter Association’s Code of Practice for the Disposal of Chicks in Hatcheries, which outlines in detail information about humane methods of killing and good practice.
“The British poultry industry has some of the highest welfare standards in the world and the veterinary profession is fully committed to working with Defra on further enhancing animal welfare codes to reflect best industry practice.”