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Retailers could resort to importing caged eggs from outside of the UK

10/04/2024

DAVID DUGUID MP has raised concerns that a new Scottish Government consultation banning egg companies from keeping chickens in cages could risk food security and put North East producers at a disadvantage.

The SNP-Green Government wants to outlaw the use of cages to house hens involved in egg production.

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If granted, the move would result in Scotland becoming the first part of the UK to ban egg companies from keeping chickens in cages.

Banff and Buchan Conservative MP David Duguid has encouraged organisations and stakeholders to “make their voices heard” in the consultation amid concerns the move will put North East producers at a huge disadvantage, resulting in retailers and food operators importing caged eggs from overseas with potentially lower welfare standards.

The Egg Industry Council also said had “serious concerns” about the plans. More than 1.1 million chickens in Scotland are kept in “enriched cages”, which provide birds with more room to nest, roost and scratch than the smaller battery cages.

Caged chickens also account for around a quarter of eggs consumed in the UK and the council said they provide shoppers with “affordable, nutritious, high-quality food, and providing a vital option for a large section of the population, particularly during the ongoing cost of living crisis”.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said: “I’m extremely concerned by these proposals from the SNP-Green Government which will put egg producers in the North East and the rest of Scotland at a huge disadvantage.

“If this goes through, retailers could resort to importing caged eggs from outside of the UK, potentially with significantly lower welfare standards.

“Egg companies contribute a vast amount to our economy and I worry that this could lead to a reduction in the number of eggs in the market which would be catastrophic for our food sector, particularly in the North East.

“Continuing to improve animal welfare standards is key, and so-called ‘enriched cages’ are a far cry from the ‘battery cages’ people may be imagining – but so is food security and pushing the sector too quickly could have serious consequences.”

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