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UFU, UK Farming Unions Meet to Discuss Cage Ban

30 September 2011

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has met with representatives from the other UK Farming Unions to discuss the implementation of the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive that will be introduced on 1 January 2012.

UFU Poultry Policy Chairman John McLenaghan said, "The UFU has serious concerns that this Directive will not be uniformly implemented across the EU. To date, egg farmers in the UK have invested £400 million to convert conventional cage systems to other production systems and it is expected that UK farmers, including Northern Ireland, will be fully compliant by the 1st January deadline.

"Unfortunately, there are reports that a number of member states, such as Poland, Spain and Belgium, will not be compliant by 1 January deadline and there is a serious risk that illegal eggs and products containing illegal eggs will make their way into the EU market place. This threat of imported non-compliant eggs has the potential to put our farmers at a significant commercial disadvantage."

The European Commission has always said that it is up to the individual Member State to ensure proper implementation of this legislation. This also means that marketing eggs that have not been produced in accordance with the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive would be in direct violation of the EU Commission‘s Regulation 589/2008/EC which lays down the detailed rules for the marketing standards for eggs.

John McLenghan continued, "In theory the plans are robust and each Member State should be able to enforce the regulation and ensure only eggs from legal systems carry an official production indicator. However, in practice this relies on the Competent Authority effectively enforcing legislation and it is clear that those Member States which have significant numbers of non-compliant producers have already demonstrated they cannot be relied upon to effectively enforce the directive in a timely manner.

"At this recent meeting, the UK Farming Unions discussed various options for preventing illegal eggs crossing our borders and will all be working quickly together to formalise these proposals."

The UFU also attended a Northern Ireland industry stakeholder meeting yesterday, 29 September, to discuss this issue.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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