Compassion Condemns EU Decision on Illegal Eggs

UK - Compassion in World Farming is shocked by a U-turn from the EU Commissioner in charge of animal welfare that will mean illegal eggs could still be sold after a ban on barren battery cages comes into force in January next year.
calendar icon 11 October 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

In a meeting of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee last week (5 October), Commissioner John Dalli said there would be no postponement to the ban but said he was looking for a "solution" for those producers who had ignored the deadline, raising the prospect of illegally produced eggs being sold for processing, i.e. for use in products such as pasta and ready meals that utilise egg as an ingredient.

Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming's Chief Policy Advisor, said: "This is completely the wrong message for the Commission to be sending out at this time and makes a mockery of this legislation, the deadline for which egg producers across Europe have been aware of for more than a decade.

"Legalising the sale of illegally produced battery eggs in the Member State of production for processing would result in non-compliant farmers in countries such as Spain and Poland having a reduced incentive to move away from battery cages. Why should farmers bother to move away from battery cages if they can legally sell their eggs?

"Commissioner Dalli's plan means that illegal battery cages will continue to be used in some EU countries for many years to come as farmers will have little incentive to stop using battery cages.

"The Commission should drop this plan to legalise the use of illegally produced battery eggs, as it will seriously weaken the ban on battery cages leaving millions of hens across Europe to suffer in this inhumane system.

"In 2008, Compassion carried out an investigation into pig farms in the EU that revealed widespread flouting of the European Pig Directive. With the 2013 EU ban on sow stalls coming in on 1st January 2013, the Commission needs to show it is prepared to deal with those who flout the law," added Mr Stevenson.

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