B1551 – Welfare of Commercial Laying Hens Bill 2020 (Second Reading) Watch

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Andrew97
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B1551 – Welfare of Commercial Laying Hens Bill 2020 (Second Reading), Conservative & Unionist Party
Welfare of Commercial Laying Hens Bill 2020

A bill to improve the welfare of commercial laying hens

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

1: Definitions
For the purposes of this act -
(1) "caged” means to have any system, whereby hens are kept in enclosed cages for any amount of time.
(2) "free range" means to have constant daytime access to an outside range with vegetation (minimum of 4 square metres in non-rotational systems)
(3) "barn” means to have a system whereby hens are kept in sheds using the floor space only (maximum of 9 hens per square metre)

2: Commercial Laying Hens
(1) The act of keeping commercial laying hens in a caged system is hereby prohibited.
(2) The act of keeping commercial laying hens in a barn system is permitted, provided that the system provides: perches for roosting, material to dustbathe and forage in, and next boxes.
(3) The act of keeping commercial laying hens in a free range system is permitted.

3: Enforcement and Punishment
(1) Farms registered as keeping laying hens are to be inspected once a year by HM Government (Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs) Animal Welfare Inspectors.
(2) Inspections are to ensure that laying hens are being kept in accordance with the conditions laid out in this Act.
(3) The definitions laid out in this act are to be reviewed annually by Her Majesty's Government.
(4) The enforcement of this Act is the sole responsibility of the Animal Welfare Inspectors (DEFRA)
(5) Violation of this Act is punishable by a fine not exceeding £5,000 and/or the termination of licence to keep commercial laying hens

4: Extent, Commencement and Citation
(1) This Act extends to the whole of the United Kingdom
(2) The provisions of this Act come into force on 1 January 2023
(3) This Act may be cited as the Welfare of Commercial Laying Hens Bill 2020

Notes:
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Mr Speaker, egg laying hens are one of the few types of farm animal in the UK that, on some farms, are still kept in close-confinement cage systems for all of their productive lives.

The TSR Conservative & Unionist Party wants to see all laying hens kept in well-managed free-range or barn systems, and therefore bring this bill to the floor of the House tonight to try to improve the conditions in which all laying hens are reared, transported and slaughtered/killed.

The proposals we outline in the bill are supported by the RSPCA, who have been campaigning for better laws on this matter for many years. If this bill becomes law, then all eggs will be compliant with RSPCA Welfare Standards.

Mr Speaker, we are aware that it is not only hens that need further protection in law, but we believe that by passing this bill into law, we will be taking the first major step to dramatically enhanced animal welfare legislation which will then set the tone for further measures.

We believe that there is no sound reason for hens to be kept in close confinement; it is cruel and barbaric. I therefore commend this bill to the House.

Changes from the first reading:
- Corrected a typo from "ages" to "cages"
- Commencement date has been changed from 31 December 2020 to 1 January 2023
- The definitions laid out in the act will now be reviewed annually by the Government, and not the RSPCA.

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LiberOfLondon
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Aye - thank you for removing an activist organisation from the job of enforcing laws.

The RSPCA has as much place enforcing animal cruelty laws as Migration Watch UK does in running the Border Force.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
Aye - thank you for removing an activist organisation from the job of enforcing laws.

The RSPCA has as much place enforcing animal cruelty laws as Migration Watch UK does in running the Border Force.
I concur and am very happy to support this going forward.
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shadowdweller
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Happy to support.
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barnetlad
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Happy to support. Interested as to why you have 2023 as the start date- is it to stop needless slaughter by those who choose to close down their keeping of hens?
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Cabin19
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It has my support
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Jammy Duel
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And the question still remains unanswered: what is the inherent issue with cages that means nothing less than a total ban on half of chicken farming must be banned? Until that is answered there is no reason to support this given the main provision is unjustified.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
Aye - thank you for removing an activist organisation from the job of enforcing laws.

The RSPCA has as much place enforcing animal cruelty laws as Migration Watch UK does in running the Border Force.
The bill itself remains unjustified, it bans things with no justification as to why it needs to be banned
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The Mogg
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
The bill itself remains unjustified, it bans things with no justification as to why it needs to be banned
That's the story of animal welfare, ban things like this purely on emotional grounds and nothing more.
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CatusStarbright
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This has my vote.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
This has my vote.
Maybe you can answer the question given the author is incapable of, and the only response from the party proposing is to agree there is no justification.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Maybe you can answer the question given the author is incapable of, and the only response from the party proposing is to agree there is no justification.
Caged hens are notoriously kept in appalling conditions.

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwe...hens/keyissues
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by barnetlad)
Happy to support. Interested as to why you have 2023 as the start date- is it to stop needless slaughter by those who choose to close down their keeping of hens?
There were people in the first reading who say a longer transitional period is needed. There's no particular reason why it is 2023 instead of 2022 or 2024. I simply believe more than 3 years should be enough for anyone to adapt.
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Baron of Sealand
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(Original post by The Mogg)
That's the story of animal welfare, ban things like this purely on emotional grounds and nothing more.
A lot of people say free-range chickens taste better than caged chickens.
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The Mogg
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
A lot of people say free-range chickens taste better than caged chickens.
So we're banning something on the basis that some find one to taste better than the other? Besides, a lot of people say that free-range eggs are more expensive than caged, and that ridding of cheaper alternatives because "save the animals dammit" is a bad idea. Trust me when I say if this wasn't a Tory bill I would be voting it down.
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barnetlad
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(Original post by Baron of Sealand)
There were people in the first reading who say a longer transitional period is needed. There's no particular reason why it is 2023 instead of 2022 or 2024. I simply believe more than 3 years should be enough for anyone to adapt.
Thanks for replying, makes sense.
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abucha3
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
I concur and am very happy to support this going forward.
(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
Aye - thank you for removing an activist organisation from the job of enforcing laws.

The RSPCA has as much place enforcing animal cruelty laws as Migration Watch UK does in running the Border Force.
(Original post by Cabin19)
It has my support
(Original post by barnetlad)
Happy to support. Interested as to why you have 2023 as the start date- is it to stop needless slaughter by those who choose to close down their keeping of hens?
(Original post by shadowdweller)
Happy to support.
Thank you very much for the support
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abucha3
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
This has my vote.
Thank you for the support
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abucha3
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(Original post by The Mogg)
So we're banning something on the basis that some find one to taste better than the other? Besides, a lot of people say that free-range eggs are more expensive than caged, and that ridding of cheaper alternatives because "save the animals dammit" is a bad idea. Trust me when I say if this wasn't a Tory bill I would be voting it down.
I think you are being unfair. The purpose of this bill is not driven by some animal activist "save the animals" mantra, but merely introducing sensible regulations to ensure we treat animals we use for commercial purposes in a humane manner.

Surely you are not against treating animals in a humane way? If you are, then where is the line for you with regards to animal humanity? Legislation was recently introduced to make CCTV in abattoirs compulsory because cases came to the surface where sheep were punched in the head; is that acceptable to you, or is that part and parcel of the the slaughtering process?

I would ask the question of anyone opposing this bill, on the basis it goes too far, to tell me where the line is personally for them on animal cruelty.

Caged hens have to live in an area less than the size of an A4 piece of paper, crammed with other hens, prohibiting them from exhibiting natural behaviour. It results in their bones and muscles degenerating. Often hens will then die, and are left to rot along with other birds in the cage. Due to the stress in these cages, hens exhibit unnatural behaviour and are aggressive to other hens; instead of being given more space, the hens have their beaks trimmed without any sort of painkiller.

Can you honestly tell me you are comfortable with that sort of practice, just so that a farmer can produce a slightly higher number of inferior eggs? When there is an easy alternative, which means we still eat eggs but at least treat animals in a decent way.

Please do search images of caged hens, and tell me you are comfortable with the way they are living.

This is a barbaric practice, which we can put to a stop, through voting this bill through.
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Rakas21
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Mr Speaker, this bill has my full support although i would personally extend it to all poultry.
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