Small aviaries permitted in laying hen husbandry
The Federal Council today approved the ordinance amending the animal welfare and livestock husbandry ordinance in accordance with changes. A significant change proposal relates to a part of the Animal Welfare Farm Animal Husbandry Ordinance that is not affected by the amending ordinance - the husbandry conditions for laying hens. According to the Federal Council, the animals should be able to be kept in so-called small aviaries in the future.
In small group housing, each hen must have at least 800 square centimeters. A headroom of 60 centimeters is required for this new husbandry system. The small aviaries should have perches, darkened laying nests and an area with sand for cleaning. They are intended to replace the conventional laying hen cages that will be banned from the end of 2006. However, the Federal Council has decided on longer transitional periods up to December 31, 2008 for these. However, farms can only benefit from this deadline if they have submitted a binding operational and conversion concept for converting the existing housing facilities by the end of this year.
The Bundesrat has also passed a resolution asking the federal government to immediately carry out scientific studies to assess the effects of the different housing systems on laying hens and to report to the Bundesrat within two years at the latest. In addition, the Federal Council calls for the development of a mandatory testing and approval procedure (animal protection TÜV) for laying hen husbandry systems. © Bundesrat