Defra has released an improved guide to the owners and keepers of laying hens and pullets on how to comply with relevant farm animal welfare legislation.
The primary objective of the new code of practice is to improve good standards of stockmanship, which will enhance the welfare of their animals in line with the most recent scientific, veterinary and husbandry advice.
According to the group poultry keepers must look after poultry in ways that “meet their welfare needs”, making sure the animals don’t experience any unnecessary distress, suffering or heat stress.
The new code for laying hens and pullets is the second of 10 farm animal welfare codes that are being updated by Defra, and follows the new code of practice for the ‘Welfare of Meat Chickens and Meat Breeding Chickens’, which came into effect in March 2018.
A statement by Defra said: “You and any staff working with animals must read, understand and have access to the relevant welfare code of recommendations for any birds you look after. Welfare codes aren’t law, but if you don’t follow them it can be used as evidence in court if you’re prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to livestock or poultry.”