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Caged Hens
My response to concerns about the continued use of caged hens for egg production

May 2023

Thank you for contacting me about cages for hens,


In May 2021 the Government set out a highly ambitious plan in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare (APAW).


In 2021, the APAW came into force. This codified animals' status as sentient beings into law, and is considered when the Government is creating policy. It also increased the prison sentence for animal abuse from six months to five years.


Please be assured that the policies set out on the APAW have not been shelved. Such extensive legislation takes time.


The APAW included greater protections for the welfare of farmed animals, including hens.


Around 60 per cent of our hens are now kept in free-range systems, and a number of  major supermarkets have pledged to stop selling eggs from the remaining 40 per cent of hens in cages by 2025.


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has a statutory code for hen welfare, and ministers are considering different cage systems that are used in the UK and abroad.


Any decision on cage reform will take time. There must be considerations for the full implications on animal welfare balanced with industry concerns, followed by a phase-out period to secure realistic animal welfare results and industry sustainability.


These reforms are ongoing and in an early stage.


The emails that I have been receiving from the Humane League have been sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with myself copied in.


I am always pleased to ensure that urgent issues raised by my constituents can be addressed by the relevant minister. 

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