Directive 1999/74/EC, adopted in 1999,
distinguishes three types of rearing systems
for laying hens:
enriched cages where laying hens have
at least 750 cm² of cage area per hen;
non enriched cage systems where hens
have at least 550 cm² of cage area per hen.
From 1 January 2003 onwards such cagesmay not be built anymore or utilised for the
first time. By January 2012 at the latest
this system must be prohibited;
non-cage systems with nests (at least
one for 7 hens), adequate perches and where
the stocking density does not exceed 9 laying
hens per m² usable area.
The hens kept in the
enriched cage systems and the non-cage systems
must also have a nest, perching space of 15cm
per hen, litter to allow pecking and scratching
and unrestricted access to a feed trough
measuring at least 12cm per hen in the
Article 7 of the
Directive provides that all egg production
units must be registered with the competent
authorities in Member States. They must each
have a distinguishing number which will be used
to trace eggs back to the farm where they were
laid out in
Commission Directive 2002/4/EC have been
adopted by the Commission after consultation of
the veterinary representatives of the Member
Article 10 of the Directive provides that the Commission shall submit to the Council a report on the various systems of rearing laying hens.
The Commission adopted this report on 8 January 2008. It details a number of independent scientific and socio-economic studies which lend support
to the upcoming ban on unenriched cages. The report
was drawn up taking into account an EFSA opinion on this subject, a specific
and a Community-funded research project ("LAYWEL") which investigated the welfare implications of changes in production systems for laying hens.
Click here for press release.
Multistakeholder meeting on the implementation of Council Directive 1999/74/EC
Conventional cages will have to be phased out in the EU by 1 January 2012 since found unacceptable for animal welfare reasons. Member States are primarily responsible for the implementation of the directive, since its adoption in 1999.
The European Commission is in continuous dialogue with competent authorities from Member States and all sectors concerned in order to focus all existing resources on the implementation of the ban by the legal deadline.
In this context, the Commission organised a multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss the state of play of the implementation of Council Directive 1999/74/EC and available tools to ensure the smooth phasing out of conventional cages by 1 January 2012.
The meeting took place on 19 January 2011 in Brussels and was attended by Member States representatives together with representatives from the industry, farming organisations and animal welfare organisations.
The Commission will follow up on the outcomes of the meeting.