MP calls for immediate ban on thrown farrowing cages

Proposals to immediately ban sow farrowing cages have been removed from the animal welfare legislation currently under consideration in parliament.

The original clause was tabled by shadow minister of Defra, Daniel Zeichner, in the animal welfare (kept animals) bill.

During a debate on the bill, Mr Zeichner said farrowing cages were a major concern because they “prevent sows from building nests”.

“Alternatives to farrowing cages – many of which are designed by British farmers and engineers – are already commercially available in the UK,” he added.

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“We should support British ingenuity and the welfare of pigs by demanding the use of these superior welfare systems,” he told fellow MPs, signaling his intention to impose a ban ” when he is in government “.

However, he added that Labor would work closely with the pork sector to ensure that a ban is introduced without harming the industry.

But Defra Agriculture Minister Victoria Prentis warned the new clause would have led to an “immediate ban” on farrowing cages, which Defra did not want.

Minister Defra acknowledged that such a ban could have a significant impact on the industry and could trigger a mass exodus from the pork sector. This would only export production to countries with lower welfare standards, she said.

MPs voted to drop the immediate blackout clause.

Other reforms

Ms. Prentis has not abandoned long-term ban plans, however. She said the government was considering further reforms to the farrowing cages and ultimately hoped farrowing cages would no longer be needed.

“I want to ensure that we have a realistic phase-out period that is sustainable for the industry, so that we can meet the welfare goals,” she said.

“I made it clear that we would not make this change without working with industry to ensure that the dangers, of which we are all aware, do not occur.”

National Pig Association (NPA) chief executive Zoe Davies welcomed the removal of the Labor MP’s clause, which she said was linked to talks between the organization and the government.

Some of Ms Prentis’ statements in parliament were direct quotes from NPA lobbying documents, she said.

Dr Davies added that she was delighted that government and opposition MPs were aware of the potential damage a ban could cause, and said the NPA would continue to engage with all parties in the debate.

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