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Animal Health and Welfare (18-01-2011)

Commission follows up implementation of the laying hens Directive

The state of play of the implementation of a Council Directive (1999/74/EC) on the protection of laying hens is the topic of discussion of a multi-stakeholder meeting, organised by the Commission in Brussels on 19 January 2011.

According to the legislation, unenriched cages will have to be phased out by 1 January 2012 since they are considered unacceptable for animal welfare reasons. They should be replaced by other systems more capable to fulfill the biological and behavioral needs of the animals. Unenriched cages, as compared to enriched ones, offer to the hens much less living space and lack structures such as a nest or a perch responding to the needs of the animals.

Member States' representatives, industry, farming organizations, animal welfare and consumers organizations will get together to discuss available tools and best practices to ensure the proper enforcement of the legislation in order to focus all existing resources on the timely implementation of the ban.

The event is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure that the welfare requirements foreseen in the EU legislation are properly implemented.

The meeting will be web streamed and can be followed on:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/farm/laying_hens_en.htm