Scientific INformAtion for Policy Support in Europe
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Document "Improving the health and welfare of laying hens": English Abstract
Egg production is an important agricultural activity in the EU, and one that is generally very intensive. In response to societal concern about the welfare of laying hens, Directive 1999/74/EC sets minimum standards for their protection. Battery cages, in their current form, are being phased out (by 2012) and new farming practices (furnished cages and non-cage systems) have emerged. As data accumulate, it is important to acquire a clear picture of animal welfare determinants in furnished cages, aviaries, and free-range systems.
· In the wake of Directive 1999/74/EC and given the stricter rules set by some Member States, it is essential to assess – as LayWel does – the impact of different systems on bird health and welfare in order to shape future decisions
· The procedure manual and reports will serve as tools for Member States striving to comply with the EU legislation
· The project will promote a dialogue with stakeholders (e.g. animal welfare organisations and producers)

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