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    Scotland proposes ban on caged hens for eggs

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    The Scottish government has proposed a ban on the sale of eggs from caged hens, in a bid to improve the welfare of animals.

    Scottish government has announced a new consultation on outlawing the use of cages to house hens involved in egg production. The Scottish government’s preference is for a ban on the installation of new cages from 2033, followed by a complete ban on keeping birds in enriched cages from 2034. Ministers believe this option “most effectively balances improvements in bird welfare and ensures sustainability for the laying hen sector”.

    The consultation also seeks views on banning the use of enriched cages from 2030. And it proposes a non-regulatory option, which would see shops and caterers commit to stop selling and using eggs from birds kept in enriched cages by 2034.

    Agriculture minister Jim Fairlie said if it was implemented Scotland would be “leading the way in improving the welfare of animals”.

    The use of battery cages for birds was banned in the UK in 2012. There are still more than 1.1 million chickens in Scotland kept in “enriched cages”, which provide birds with more room.

    “Significant progress has already been made in recognising the importance of animal welfare – both in government policies and the demand from the public in the choice they make when shopping,” BBC quoted Fairlie as saying.

    “If implemented, the ban would be another example of Scotland leading the way in improving the welfare of animals by being the first UK nation to ban the practice.”

    He added that the Scottish government would also call for evidence, in due course, on the use of cages in the gamebird, quail egg and meat sectors.

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