Scottish Egg Producers under Pressure from Imports

SCOTLAND, UK - The farmers' union has warned that Scottish egg producers are at risk from illegal imports.
calendar icon 5 September 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

Last week, the UK Parliament warned that the EU Commission is 'sleepwalking into a potential commercial disaster over animal welfare regulations'. NFU Scotland has reiterated its call to the Commission to announce its plans for dealing with EU Member States which are not ready to comply with new regulations on the welfare of egg-laying hens.

NFU Scotland has welcomed the publication of the UK Parliament's Environment and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report on the EU's Welfare of Laying Hens Directive. The report highlights that while the vast majority of Scottish and UK egg producers have invested millions of pounds in installing new cages for egg-laying hens in order to comply with the new regulations, figures from the European Commission suggest that thousands of units across the EU will not be compliant in four months’ time when the regulations come into force in full.

NFU Scotland's Poultry Policy Manager, Peter Loggie said: "We welcome the EFRA Committee's report which gives firm backing to much of what the British egg industry has been saying for many years. UK producers could have delayed introducing the new higher welfare cages required by the regulations but bit the bullet and have installed them at great cost. Producers in other Member States have done so as well, but in some Member States it is estimated that around 80% of the egg industry is not ready to meet the 2012 deadline.

"The EFRA Committee and the UK's egg producers are one on the fundamental issue at stake i.e. that British egg producers have spent around £400 million installing new cages to comply with the EU's new regulations while the EU Commission has not announced what it will do about millions of eggs coming on to the market produced from hens in cages which are not legal as of January 2012.

"It is eight months since the European Parliament called on the Commission to announce its intentions on implementing these rules. It is now September and the January 2012 deadline for EU-wide implementation is staring us in the face.

"The UK Government has been supportive of UK egg producers on the issue, as has the European Parliament and I hope that the UK Parliament's own report will add at least some of the extra pressure the Commission needs in order to come clean about its plans for enforcing the new laws fairly across the whole of the EU.

"NFUS, along with the EFRA Committee has asked the EU Commission for an intra-community trade ban on illegally produced eggs. If the EU Commission is not prepared to introduce such a ban, we have requested as an alternative that the UK be allowed to implement its own ban on a unilateral basis.

"NFUS is also seeking confirmation from the UK and Scottish Governments that public procurement contracts should only permit legally produced eggs," said Mr Loggie.

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