Let Consumers Decide, Say Egg Farmers

UK - The National Farmers' Union has called the RSPCA's aim to outlaw the EU's higher welfare enriched colony egg production systems 'irresponsible and shortsighted'.
calendar icon 29 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

The news comes after a statement by Michel Barnier, French minister of agriculture, during a meeting of the European Parliament's Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals in Brussels last week, when the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (RSPCA) called for the EU-approved enriched colony system to be banned.

NFU chief poultry adviser, Robert Newbery, said "The RSPCA is being short-sighted and irresponsible in calling for enriched colony systems to be banned at a time when our members are doing their level best to respond to consumer demands, which means supplying eggs to all ends of the market.

"The egg industry has to reflect diverging consumer needs for higher welfare eggs, but also for affordability. Sales in free-range and conventional indoor eggs are both growing respectively, reflecting that some consumers wish to buy higher welfare while other consumers, who have to watch the pennies especially in this current financial climate, opt for affordability.

"Banning the new enriched colony system - which, at £15-25 per bird, our members are now making considerable investment in - would only serve to export our egg industry to outside the EU or UK where welfare standards may be well behind our own.

"With food security a key issue, we need to do all we can to safeguard UK supply not force production abroad," Mr Newbery added.

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