GENERAL REQUIREMENTS TO ANIMAL WELFARE
In Denmark, the general rules on protection of farm animals also apply to hens on egg producing farms. The rules include inspection, handling and treatment of sick and injured animals, barn environment, feed, etc. These are minimum requirements which must always be met – and which may be even stricter in other types of legislation. For instance, the legislation on the keeping of organic animals exceeds these requirements in many areas.
CONDITIONS OF EGG LAYING HENS
Danish eggs are divided into four main categories: organic, free-range, barn and enriched cage. The requirements to space, construction of the barn and feed determine the type of the eggs.
Organic eggs are laid by hens which have access to an outdoor area – all year round. The area must be covered with grass or similar vegetation and sheltered by plants such as trees and bushes.
Inside the barn, at least one third of the area must be covered with sand, straw, wood shavings or peat to allow the hens to clean themselves by scratching or dustbathing. The hens must also have access to perches, nests and natural daylight.
BEAK TRIMMING – NO THANKS
Danish egg laying hens do not have their beaks trimmed. Beak trimming is not permitted for hens. In 2014, the Danish egg industry signed a voluntary agreement to stop all beak trimming of hens in enriched cages and free-range hens. All egg producing farms are under the control of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen).
All egg laying hens on Danish farms have access to perches, scratching areas and nesting space. The same rules apply for hens in enriched cages as part of an EU directive to accommodate for stimulating elements in the cages. The modern cages are called “enriched cages”.