Robert Gooch, the chief executive of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), has called on RSPCA Assured to help its members meet new hen perching requirements (All producers in the scheme must provide at least 8cm of perching per bird for all flocks housed after August 2018). Producers have struggled to fit new perches required by the assurance scheme, particularly in mobile units and older shed designs. Mr Gooch, called for RSPCA Assured to provide time-limited concessions for those attempting to meet the standard, and derogations for those whose house structures are unable to take the loading.
“Since the revisions were first introduced in July 2016 I have been pointing out the difficulties many producers will face,” Mr Gooch said. “The design of some producers’ houses makes it practically impossible to achieve”.
BFREPA was concerned that this scheme would lead to an increase in injuries to hens. But is has come to light that some producers cannot install perches because their sheds cannot support the additional weight. An estimated 250 BFREPA members are affected by these changes and therefore BFREPA has advised them to contact RSPCA Assured.