In a unanimous vote, the Israeli government’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee has approved new legislation that will prevent egg-laying hens from living in cage-type chicken coops.

The legislation will go into effect in 2037, giving egg farmers time to prepare and upgrade their facilities. Until the legislation goes into effect, a minimum living space has been set for egg-laying hens in existing coops.

According to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, about 93 percent of Israel’s egg-laying coops are cages of various types.

Moreover, under the new regulations, the practice of starving egg-laying hens for 10 days, with the objective of creating an additional egg-laying cycle for them, will be officially banned.

Also prohibited will be the trimming of the beaks of egg-laying hens after they have been taken out of the hatchery.

The new law will require poultry-industry workers to seek medical treatment or euthanasia to prevent the suffering of a sick hen, or a hen injured by a poultry worker.

The legislation also stipulates that a veterinarian or poultry-breeding guide must be consulted if there is an extraordinary event, such as a sudden increase in mortality rates in a coop or a sudden decrease in egg-laying.

The regulations also set advanced standards for the living conditions of egg-laying hens that will ensure product safety for consumers as well as provide a significant improvement in the welfare of hens.

Among other things, the law calls for new and upgraded infrastructure and equipment for coops, including better ventilation, lighting and air-conditioning.

This article was first published by Israel21.

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