Defra considering ban on enriched cages in its animal welfare action plan

The government is considering a ban on enriched cages in the poultry sector, as part of a plan to improve animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare Action Plan was launched today by Defra and as part of the wide-ranging proposals, the government said it would be “examining the use of cages”. While enriched cages for egg production are being phased out by all the UK’s major retailers by 2025, the system currently accounts for a quarter of all production and it had been expected the foodservice sector would continue to source eggs produced in enriched cages.

The plan includes a number of proposed changes that will directly affect the poultry sector, including:

  • Examining the use of cages for poultry
  • Introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport, alongside ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter
  • Improving animal welfare at slaughter
  • Incentivising farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy under the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

The Government will be introducing a series of Bills in due course focusing on animal sentience, kept animals here in the UK and the welfare of animals. There will also be a series of non-legislative changes to promote animal welfare over the coming months, with a number of regulations due to be brought forward as early as this year.

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