Cage Ban Pressures Producers

NORTHERN IRELAND - The 2012 deadline for poultry cage ban puts pressure on producers, delegates at an industry conference were told.
calendar icon 23 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The huge cost of complying with the conventional cage ban became apparent at a recent producer meeting in Northern Ireland. Two producers putting their combined cost at nearly £60 million, reports Farmers Weekly Interactive (FWI).

Speaking at the recent Poultry Association of Northern Ireland Conference held at Loughry College, Cookstown, Charles Crawford of Erne Eggs questioned whether there was sufficient time left. "The 2012 deadline means that the last crop of pullets will go into this system at the end of next year.

"Current estimates indicate that 95 per cent of cages south of the border [Republic of Ireland] are not enriched while the figure is 85 per cent in the north. Therefore, we have a problem [in meeting the 2012 deadline] and have some major decisions to make. We must make them soon.

"We have no problems with enriched cages and they are undoubtedly a step forward. The big issue is the deadline."

He stressed that the deadline "was an artificial distortion" to the market. "If the sector is unable to meet the deadline, there could be shortage of eggs with the gap being filled by imports."

Scottish egg producer, John Campbell, of Glenrath Farms agreed. "Where will the eggs come from [to meet the shortfall]? The big, big threat is that the World Trade Organisation does not recognise animal welfare as a barrier to trade." Therefore, the EU cannot stop eggs produced by hens in conventional cages in third countries being imported and sold, according to FWI.

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