WALES, UK - The National Farmers Union of Wales (NFU Cymru) is urging egg producers to lobby their political representatives in order to ensure that the derogation on beak trimming of hens can continue.
The EU Council Directive on the Welfare of Laying Hens has permitted member states to authorise beak tipping in order to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism, provided it is carried out by qualified staff on hens that are less than 10 days old and intended for laying.
A review of this practice will take place in 2015 with a ban imposed in 2016 and the National Farmers Union of Wales (NFU Cymru) is urging egg producers to lobby their political representatives in order to ensure that the derogation, which is taken up by many other Member States in the EU, can continue. In the UK, the infra-red beak trimming (IRBT) method is used to routinely beak tip birds. This method has been proven by the University of Glasgow not to cause harm to the birds.
Clare Morgan, NFU Cymru Poultry Board Chairman said: "It is vital now that we have a strong show of support from the whole of the egg industry to ensure that the truth about beak trimming is understood and what the consequences of banning the procedure would have on the welfare of laying hens.
"A total ban on beak trimming would not be in the interest of laying hen welfare, as it is clear that birds would suffer worse welfare insults through injurious feather pecking. The impact of injurious pecking is greatest in systems of management which do not house birds in cages, therefore it is likely to have a significant impact on egg units in Wales where many producers operate free-range systems."
"Producing high quality food which has been produced to the highest standard in terms of animal health and welfare are our key priorities. I urge poultry producers to make contact with their local MP on the issue and the consequences such a ban would have on your business."
NFU Cymru has produced a lobbying brief which will assist producers on how to engage with your local MP on this important issue. A full guide is available by clicking here.
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