Caring for the welfare of laying hens will now be easier for farmers in the Republic of Ireland following the launch of a new booklet called Code of Practice for the Welfare of Laying Hens.

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Produced by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council, the booklet was officially launched by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in late September. The booklet’s aim is to encourage all those who care for laying hens to adopt the highest standards when dealing with hens and provides practical guidance in respect of the management and husbandry of laying hens. It incorporates new rules on welfare standards that are due to come into force in 2012. “My department is committed to working with poultry producers and the industry to ensure that the new regulations prohibiting the keeping of laying hens in conventional cages from Jan. 1, 2012, are complied with in full,” said Simon Coveney, minister for agriculture, food and the marine.