NFUS Slams Stats on Laying Cage Ban Compliance

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland will be in Brussels next week urging Commission officials to learn lessons from the debacle surrounding implementation of the laying cage ban.
calendar icon 12 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

No fewer that 14 member states and 14 per cent of EU egg production failed to meet the deadline when the ban on conventional cages came into force on 1 January 2012. The Union will be in Brussels on Monday (16 January) seeking reassurances from Commission officials that history won’t repeat itself when Europe’s legislation banning the use of sow stalls in the pig sector comes into force at the end of this year.

The UK has had a unilateral ban on sow stalls in place since January 1999.

NFU Scotland’s Pigs and Poultry Chairman, Phil Sleigh, who will be in Brussels on Monday said: "Despite having almost a decade to prepare, no fewer that 14 of our fellow Member States have failed to fully enforce the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive and will face legal proceedings in the coming weeks according to the European Commission.

"Warnings and threats of fines from the Commission about the consequences of non-compliance have been largely ineffectual in encouraging many countries to convert conventional battery cages into enriched welfare friendly cages on time. The deadline has now passed and Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain have all failed to meet it.

"According to the Commission’s latest figures, more than 46 million hens are still in illegal conventional cages across Europe, representing a staggering 14 per cent of Europe’s egg industry. Those eggs run the risk of entering the UK and undermining our producers who have taken on board the considerable cost involved in compliance. Our producers deserve legal protection from having their markets undermined by illegally produced eggs but it is a huge disappointment that this has, so far, been undeliverable at a UK or an EU level.

"With the sow stall ban just around the corner, the Commission must learn lessons from this laying cage debacle and put more robust measures in place to penalise those pig producers who do not comply and protect those producer who do meet the rules. The use of such stalls has been outlawed here for the past 13 years and we would welcome speedy and comprehensive compliance across the rest of the EU pig sector. Along with the NPA, I will be meeting with animal welfare officials on Monday in Brussels to raise this issue as a matter of urgency."

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