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Defra aims to strengthen animal welfare codes for pigs and poultry

A sow with her piglet on a farm in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

A sow with her piglet on a farm in north Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Welfare codes for pigs, laying hens and meat chickens are being updated as part of a programme of government reforms to “safeguard and enhance the welfare of animals”.

Defra has launched a six-week consultation to seek industry views on statutory guidance which has been “strengthened” to reflect the latest advice from vets, and recent animal husbandry developments.

Under the proposals, animal keepers will be expected to provide a more enriched environment for all pigs, laying hens, and meat chickens to enable them to display more of their natural behaviours such as foraging, helping to ensure more fulfilled and healthier animals.

The new codes also provide detailed guidance to animal keepers on how to assess the welfare of their animals, as well as on contingency planning to help ensure the welfare of their animals during any emergencies.

Lord Gardiner, the minister for animal welfare, said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and are going further, including raising maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years and introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.

“We are carefully consulting with industry experts, and using the most recent scientific and veterinary advice to ensure this clear guidance provides the best advice to owners and keepers to help ensure the high welfare standards of their animals.”

The new codes, expected to be available later this year, will be used by enforcement officers including animal health inspectors and councils when investigating allegations of poor animal welfare standards.

For more details, see the Defra website.

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