The UK is expected to be fully compliant with the EU ban on conventional cages by Monday, food and farming minister Jim Paice has said.
Paice told the House of Commons that, as of 6 February, all egg producers in England, Scotland and Wales were compliant with the ban, which came into force on 1 January. Three remaining sites in Northern Ireland, which were currently still flouting the ban, would be compliant by 13 February, Paice added.
The Defra minister made the announcement in a written statement in response to Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood.
Paice also said “robust enforcement action” was being taken to implement the ban, adding that failure to comply could result in a criminal conviction.
Earlier this week, Paice told the Commons in a separate written statement that less than 0.05% of the UK’s laying hens flock was still in conventional cages.
Based on a UK flock of about 36m hens in 2010, as estimated by the British Egg Information Service, this would amount to fewer than 20,000 hens.
Earlier this year, the UK was forced to admit that half a million hens on 30 farms across the UK were still in conventional cages despite the EU-wide ban.