Presidency Opposes Delay on Battery Cages Ban

EU - The French presidency of the Council of the European Union wants to have conventional battery cages for laying hens banned by 2012 as originally agreed, and would oppose any proposals to delay it. Also discussed are the Council's position on the future of animal cloning, and procedures for pre-slaughter stunning.
calendar icon 26 September 2008
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Michel Barnier, French minister of agriculture and fisheries, made the statement during a meeting of the European Parliament' Intergroup on the Welfare & Conservation of Animals in Brussels on 24 September, according to

The use of conventional battery cages will be banned from 1 January 2012 but enriched cages will still be allowed.

Mr Barnier said, "I would not like us to go back on that date. I would not like to see it postponed. That is the Council position, that battery farming should cease on that day."

The minister also revealed the French presidency's position on a range of other animal welfare-related issues. He said animal welfare would be given serious consideration when discussing whether to allow animal cloning for food in the EU. The Intergroup initiated a resolution calling on the Commission to ban animal cloning for food. No fewer than 622 MEPs voted in favour of it earlier this month.

Mr Barnier said about cloning, "With cloning for rearing, at the moment the Council has not adopted a position on this. Before I became president in office at the Council, I was extremely critical of the introduction of foodstuffs from this particular sector. We want to make progress with those discussions with the Council under the French presidency.

"Apart from the whole issue of food safety for human consumption, we do need to think about animal health, animal welfare, ethics. The Council will be looking at the parliamentary resolution on this particular issue."

Neil Parish, president of the Intergroup, urged the French presidency to look at animals being killed without having been stunned first, which can occur with religious slaughter.

"This is something I feel extremely strongly about," Mr Parish said. "In many member states, you can negotiate with halal slaughter and other systems where there is some stunning [allowed]. I would sincerely ask you to really look at this. We cannot go on with a situation like this."

Mr Barnier also revealed that:

  • The Environment Council would discuss the Commission's proposal to ban the trade and import of seal products on 20 October.
  • The Council was waiting for the Commission to produce its proposal for the revision of animal experimentation directive 86/609, but did not know when this would be.
  • France feels the impact of recent legislation regarding the transport of live animals needs to be assessed before the Commission introduces new proposals relating to it.

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