Mike has spoken out against the cruel practice of beak trimming.
A portion of the beaks of laying hens are routinely removed in the UK as a preventative measure against cannibalism and fighting. The practice was due to be banned at the end of 2010 but, sadly, the industry had not implemented the necessary safety measures which would have enabled hens to move around freely. Consequently, Parliament voted to delay the ban until 2016 to give farmers longer to make the changes.
Mike recently questioned the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs on the issue and asked how many beaks will be trimmed in 2011 now that the ban is not going ahead. The Minister responded that around 18.6 million birds will be affected. This amounts to some 94% of all laying hens.
Mike said: “It is deeply upsetting that there was little in the way of preparedness from what is a huge industry. I have made clear that I expect to see large steps being taken by farmers to improve the living conditions of hens as a matter of urgency and that the delay cannot go on past 2016. I will do all that I can to highlight this inhumane practice.”