Broiler Welfare Directive Will be Delayed

ENGLAND & WALES - The full introduction of the Broiler Welfare Directive in this country will be postponed to this autumn, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).
calendar icon 29 April 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

New EU rules setting maximum broiler stocking density that were scheduled to be introduced on 30 June this year are not now expected to come into force until the autumn, according to NFU poultry adviser, Robert Newbery.

In an interview to ThePoultrySite, he explained that the delay is due to the General Election, which will be held next week, and the short time available for a likely heavy workload before Parliament's summer recess.

Under the Welfare of Farmed Animals and Mutilations Regulations – to give the directive its full title – the maximum stocking density for broilers will be 39kg of live poultry per square metre of building floor area. This compares with the current maximum of 42kg per square metre.

However, Mr Newbery explained, the new requirements for producers regarding record keeping (mortality rates, breed and stocking density) will still come into effect on 30 June. Furthermore, the enforcement agencies will be carrying out the necessary inspections at slaughterhouses from the same date.

Under the new regulation, broiler growers in England and Wales will be able to operate with stocking densities between 33 and 39kg per square metre.

Mr Newbery told ThePoultrySite that the broiler industry here is disappointed with the government's decision to 'gold-plate' the EU directive. In the Netherlands, Poland, the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, he said, the maximum stocking rate allowed under the directive is 42kg per square metre. Producers in England and Wales will, therefore, have a lower maximum stocking density – and thus be at a competitive disadvantage cost-wise – compared to those in other EU Member States, which are the main competitors in international poultry meat trade.

"A good opportunity to level the playing field across the EU has been missed," Mr Newbery told ThePoultrySite.

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