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The Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994

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Regulation 3(1)

SCHEDULE 1CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH LAYING HENS IN BATTERY CAGES MUST BE KEPT

1.  (1)  All cages must comply with the following requirements—

(a)the cage area, measured in a horizontal plane, for each laying hen shall be not less than—

(i)1000 cm2 where one hen is kept in the cage,

(ii)750 cm2 where two hens are kept in the cage,

(iii)550 cm2 where three hens are kept in the cage, and

(iv)450 cm2 where four or more hens are kept in the cage;

(b)the minimum cage area for each laying hen shall be capable of being used without restriction and may include the area where the non-waste deflection plate (otherwise known as the egg guard) is placed so long as that area is capable of being so used;

(c)a feed trough of a length of not less than 10 cm multiplied by the number of hens in the cage and capable of being used without restriction shall be provided;

(d)except where nipple drinkers and drinking cups are provided, the cage shall have a continuous drinking channel which shall be not less than 10 cm multiplied by the number of hens in the cage, and capable of being used without restriction;

(e)where drinking points are plumbed in, there shall be a minimum of two nipple drinkers or two drinking cups within reach of the cage;

(f)the height of the cage, for 65% of its area, shall be not less than 40 cm, and, for the remainder of the area, shall be not less than 35 cm (the height being obtained by a vertical line from the floor to the nearest point in the roof and the area being obtained by multiplying 450 cm2 by the number of birds kept in the cage);

(g)the floor of the cage shall be constructed so as to support adequately each of the forward facing claws of each foot;

(h)the slope of the floor shall not exceed 14% or 8 degrees, when made of rectangular wire mesh, and 21.3% or 12 degrees for other types of floor.

(2) Until 1st January 1995, paragraph 1(1) above shall not apply in relation to battery cages built and put into use before 1st January 1988 provided the cages have not been reconstructed since that date.

2.  Battery cages shall be designed, constructed and maintained in such a way and materials used shall be such as to prevent any injury or unnecessary suffering to laying hens to the extent possible in the existing state of technology.

3.  The design and size of the cage opening must be such that laying hens can be put in or taken out without causing injury or unnecessary suffering. In particular there must be no sharp edges or protrusions which are likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering or allow laying hens to become trapped.

4.  The cages must be suitably equipped and maintained to prevent escape.

5.  Except in the case of therapeutic or prophylactic treatment, all laying hens shall have access to adequate, nutritious and hygienic feed each day in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health and to satisfy their nutritional needs, and to adequate fresh drinking water at all times.

6.  Insulation and ventilation of the building must ensure that air velocity, dust level, temperature, relative air humidity and gas concentrations are kept within limits that are not harmful to the laying hens.

7.  In the case of artificial lighting, the laying hens must have an appropriate resting period each day during which the light intensity must be reduced in such a way that they can rest properly.

8.  The laying hens shall be cared for by a sufficient number of personnel with adequate knowledge and experience of laying hens and of the production system used.

9.  The flock or group of laying hens shall be inspected thoroughly at least once a day. A source of light (whether fixed or portable) shall be available which is strong enough for each bird to be seen clearly and, if need be, thoroughly inspected at any time.

10.  Accommodation comprising more than three tiers of cages shall not be used unless suitable devices or measures make it possible to inspect thoroughly all tiers without difficulty.

11.  When laying hens do not appear to be in good health or show behavioural changes, steps shall be taken to establish the cause and appropriate remedial action shall be taken, e.g. treatment, isolation, culling or correction of environmental factors. If the cause is traced to an environmental factor in the production unit which it is not essential to remedy immediately, remedial action shall be taken as soon as practicable and in any event when the accommodation is next emptied and before the next batch of laying hens is put in.

12.  All automatic equipment must be thoroughly inspected at least once daily. Where defects are discovered these must be rectified immediately or, if this is impracticable, appropriate steps taken to safeguard the health and welfare of the laying hens until the defect has been rectified. Alternative ways of feeding and of maintaining a satisfactory environment must be available for use in the event of a breakdown.

13.  There shall be an alarm system to warn the stock-keeper of failure of any essential automated ventilation equipment.

14.  The alarm referred to in paragraph 13 above shall be tested by a stock-keeper or other competent person not less than once every seven days in order to check that there is no defect in it and, if any defect is found in such alarm (whether or not on it being tested in accordance with this paragraph) it shall be rectified forthwith.

15.  Every time all the cages housed together are emptied they shall be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected before the next batch of laying hens is put in. While the cages are occupied, the surfaces and all equipment shall be kept satisfactorily clean.

16.  No person shall apply an electrical current to laying hens for the purposes of immobilisation.

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