A six-week consultation begins today (29 January), where the Government is seeking views from industry and stakeholders for guidance expected to be available later this year.
Welfare codes for pigs, laying hens and meat chickens are being updated to reflect the advice from vets and animal husbandry developments.
This is as part of a programme of reforms to safeguard and enhance the welfare of animals, minister for animal welfare Lord John Gardiner of Kimble announced today (29 January).
Ensuring high standards
Lord Gardiner 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, 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.”
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 – and help ensure more fulfilled and healthier animals.
The user-friendly 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.
The codes will be used by enforcement bodies – including APHA inspectors and local authorities – when investigating allegations of poor welfare to look at whether animal welfare standards are being met.
The Government is seeking views from industry and stakeholders during a six-week consultation. The guidance is expected to be available later this year.