Every year in the UK, we keep around 16 million farmed animals in cages and extreme close confinement systems, despite the viable alternatives and the significantly detrimental impacts on these animals’ welfare.
My Opposition Colleagues and I have long opposed the use of cages in farming and have taken action in Parliament to try to ban their use.
For example, in February 2020, the Opposition voted to include in the Agriculture Bill a phased ban of farrowing stalls, and for financial support to be made available to farmers with the capital costs of this process and for those who take interim measures to improve the conditions of farrowing sows. Disappointingly, this was voted down by Government MPs.
I have also personally written to Ministers to advocate for the end of caging animals, such as gamebirds like pheasants, grouse, and partridges.
However, the Government has refused to move against cages, despite promising to improve animal welfare standards post-Brexit.
Therefore, I support the Hen Caging (Prohibition) Bill, but, as it is a Private Members’ Bill that is not backed by the Government, I fear that it will not pass. Nevertheless, I can assure you that my Opposition Colleagues and I will continue to use every avenue available to end the cage age and improve animal welfare in the UK.