Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Clare Barber has said all of the island’s largest poultry keepers are free range.
Mrs Barber was responding to a written question from Speaker Juan Watterson about whether the farming or keeping of poultry is regulated; and whether she is aware of any factory farming?
The farming, or keeping of poultry on the island is regulated under the Animal Health Act, however they will also fall under the new Animal Welfare Bill, once that makes it way through Tynwald. There is also a Domestic Fowls Welfare Code which outlines the protections of all poultry kept on agricultural land.
The Minister said that another form of protection for fowl comes from the Agricultural Development Scheme. She explained that any farmers claiming under this scheme have to comply with the current Isle of Man animal welfare codes.
She added: ‘Factory farming is generally defined as a large number of animals, which are confined in small spaces, which often means keeping animals indoors for the duration of their lives. All the large poultry keepers on the Island are free range and thus are not classified as factory farms.
‘Any smaller scale poultry keepers would not fit with this general definition, as they would not have a large number of animals.’
Egging Them On
Mrs Barber also outlined that egg producers, including those who just sell ‘at the back door’ should be registered as a food business operator with DEFA. Farm inspections, including of egg producers, are carried out on a random, and risk based, basis.