§ Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many826W inspections have been carried out on battery cage systems in the past 12 months; how many breaches of the law were found; whether there was full compliance with the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (England) 2002 requirement that each hen should be given at least 550 square centimetres space; what action has been taken to address breaches of UK legislation; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
From the 1 April 2003–31 March 2004 there were 95 inspections carried out on battery cage systems in England.
There were 19 breaches of welfare law found. Of the 19 breaches, two revealed a failure to comply with the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (England) 2002 requirement that each hen should be given at least 550 square centimetres space.
Action taken to address breaches of UK legislation is as follows:
- (a) Advisory letter informing of legislative requirements and outlining corrective action is sent in all cases.
- (b) In all cases where failure to comply with legislation is found, a follow up visit is made to ensure no unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress is disclosed. If unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress occurs then further action will be taken.
- (c) A Regulation 11 Improvement notice requiring corrective action may be served if an owner appears uncooperative or does not take action to comply with the advisory letter.
- (d) Statement from inspector and initiate prosecution procedures where there is failure to comply or unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress occurs.
- (e) Further action in addition to the above is dependent pending on additional reports of follow up visits.
- (f) No further action may be recommended following a further report e.g. farm depopulated or no longer keeping poultry.
In the two breaches of the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (England) 2002 referred to above concerning space per hen, the farmers were sent an advisory letter. At the follow up visit they were in compliance with the Regulations.