UK pig farmers will be competing in a more level playing field after it was announced that 18 EU Member States will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by the time it comes in to force on 1 January 2013.
Sow stalls have been illegal in Britain since 1999 but they will not be outlawed in the rest of the EU until the beginning of next year. The UK has been pressing the European Commission to ensure that the ban is enforced across the EU, ensuring a fairer environment for British pig farmers to compete in.
Welcoming the news, which was announced by the Commission at a meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg today, Britain’s Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said:
“I promised to push the Commission to be as robust as possible and I welcome the approach they and other Member States are taking to improve and enforce welfare standards across Europe.
“It’s a pity that not everyone is going to be compliant by the deadline but from the perspective of the UK pig industry, all of our main competitors will be.”
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium have all informed the Commission that their industries will be fully compliant with the ban by the end of this year, while Poland expects 94 per cent of its industry to have done away with sow stalls by the time the ban comes in to force.
The European Commission updated the EU Agriculture Council on the predicted state of implementation by 31 December 2012.
18 EU Member States are expected to be compliant by 1 January 2013 as follows: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
95 per cent of Austrian holdings are expected to be compliant by the deadline, 93 per cent of Finnish holdings, 93 per cent of Greek holdings, 94 per cent of Polish holdings, and 95 per cent of Slovenian holdings.