ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Layers to be Culled with New Animal Welfare Rules

by 5m Editor
30 December 2011, at 6:36am

IRELAND - New rules on battery hens come into force on 1 January. However, the introduction of the animal welfare measures mean that 10 farms in Ireland will have to cull poultry to avoid breaching the regulations.

The EU ban on "unenriched" cages for egg-laying hens will come in to force on Sunday, with poultry culled in the following week.

From Sunday, poultry farmers must use "enriched" cages, which have more room, perches and litter allowing hens to nest, roost and scratch.

The animal welfare improvements were welcomed by the poultry committee of the Irish Farmers’ Association but it said it was disappointed the cull would be immediate.

Farmers hoped they would have been allowed to "finish off the crop" of hens by allowing them to reach their economic potential before being culled, committee chairman Alo Mohan said.

He said the introduction of the law would result in some poultry farms closing after generations because they were unable to get the capital to fund the new cages.

Other farmers had spent "well over a million" on the cages, he added. Such farmers were concerned there would be more changes to EU rules in the lifetime of the enriched cages but they had received no guarantees from the European Commission on this.

Farmers also feared that the directive would be interpreted differently by member states and would leave some at a disadvantage. Mr Mohan urged consumers to look for the Bord Bia logo.

Almost half of EU states will be non-compliant on Sunday, with 46 million hens still in unenriched cages. Ireland will be considered non-compliant until the hens are culled.