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Member of U.K. Parliament Introduces Bill to Ban Enriched Colony Modules


Henry Smith, MP has introduced a bill into the House of Commons to ban enriched colony modules, consistent with the Conservative Party manifesto adopted before the 2020 election.  The proposed legislation known as "Beatrice's Bill" would require transition to alternative systems for approximately 16 million hens representing half the national flock. Currently eggs from hens in enriched colony modules are processed and are not sold as shell-eggs at retail.


Consistent with the E.U. law banning conventional cages that took effect in 2012, most U.K. farmers installed enriched colony modules that are now approximately ten-year-old and in many cases have not been depreciated.


Mark Williams, CEO of the British Egg Industry Council noted, "we would emphasize that if the U.K. Government bans the use of enriched cages in the laying hen sector it would immediately have to ban the import of eggs and egg products produced by hens in similar systems, otherwise it would totally undermine our egg producers".  Most retailers in the U.K. have committed to selling only cage-free eggs by 2025.


The chances of Beatrice's bill being enacted are at best slim.  Parliamentarian Henry Smith has placed the proposed legislation under the "10-Minute Rule".  He will be allowed to introduce the bill with a 10-minute speech.  If members present vote to accept the bill it will be added to the register of parliamentary business but only with a low priority.


An initiative in the E.U. to impose a total ban on any cage system is currently under consideration.