I’m a bit perplexed by the stories today about Viscountess Dilhorne, who was visited by Defra inspectors to look at her 29 laying hens for compliance with the EC Laying Hens Directive. Our Directive only applies if you have more than 350 hens, exactly to avoid this sort of thing. But these are minimum standards, and individual Member States can go further. I contacted Defra, but not having heard back, checked out the UK regulations myself, in case it was a classic case of “gold-plating”. And from what I can tell, they take the EU minimum of 350 hens. So why this lady had a visit from the Defra inspectors (and let’s be clear, all compliance, checks etc are done by the countries’ own services) is beyond me. But it certainly isn’t something required by the Directive.