Conservative MP launches private bill to attempt to ban enriched cages for laying hens

Conservative MP Henry Smith is planning to introduce a bill to parliament that will attempt to ban the use of enriched colony cages in egg production.

The Hen Caging (Prohibition) Bill will have its first reading on 22 September and is being brought to parliament under the ten minute rule, that allows MPs to propose legislation. If successful, it would mean a ban on enriched cage farming systems for egg laying hens.

The Bill is informally known as ‘Beatrice’s Bill’ after the rescue hen at the centre of a new campaign co-ordinated by Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (CAWF) and The Humane League, which aims to see the UK end cages for egg laying hens.

UK retailers have already committed to ending the sale of eggs produced in enriched cages by 2025. However, they currently make up 50% of the retail market, and many producers intend to continue supplying eggs from colony cages into the foodservice market after 2025.

Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation Patron Henry Smith MP commented: “I am proud to be bringing this important Bill before Parliament later in September. It was the Conservatives who rightly banned conventional battery cages in 2012, and I hope it will be the Conservatives again who transition the UK to a cage-free future.

“As a nation of animal lovers, it is simply unacceptable that almost half the eggs on the shelves of our supermarkets were laid by hens raised in such terrible conditions. The Government must now build on its recent progress in its Action Plan and use this opportunity to realign our farming practices with the British public’s high regard for animal welfare.”

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