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Scotland opens consultation on hen cage ban
There are currently more than 1.1 million caged hens in Scotland.

Country could become first in the UK to outlaw the practice.

The Scottish government has launched a consultation on banning the use of cages to house laying hens.

Ministers are seeking to ensure that hens have the freedom to exhibit their normal behaviours and that welfare standards reflect public values. Their preferred option is a ban introduced in instalments between 2030 and 2034.

A survey conducted by YouGov in 2020 found that 77 per cent of the British public supported a complete ban on the use of cages in farming

Battery cages have been illegal in the UK since 2012, but ‘enriched’ cages, which offer more room than battery cages, are still in use. As of February 2024, there were more than 1.1 millions caged hens in Scotland out of a total egg-production population of almost 6 million.

If a complete ban on hen cages in Scotland were introduced, it would be the first in the UK.

In Europe, Luxembourg and Austria have already made it illegal to use cages for hens, and other countries, including Germany and Slovakia, are planning to introduce bans. A planned consultation by the UK government was abandoned last year.

Jim Fairlie, agriculture minister, said: “As we committed to in our Programme for Governments, we want to improve the welfare of laying hens to ensure their confinement does not negatively impact their normal behaviours.

“Significant progress has already been made in recognising the importance of animal welfare – both in government policies and the demand from the public in the choice they make when shopping. If implemented, the ban would be another example of Scotland leading the way in improving the welfare of animals by being the first UK nation to ban the practice.”

The veterinary profession is among the sectors that the Scottish government is keen to hear from.

Mr Fairlie added: “I would encourage everyone with an interest in this issue to take part to help us shape how we protect the welfare of laying hens.”

The consultation is open until 25 June 2024. Responses can be submitted online.

 

Image © Shutterstock

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

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News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.