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Pigs: Animal Housing

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 33447, tabled on 23 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to support the use of free farrowing systems in pig farming.

Answered on

26 March 2020

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

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