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NPA: EU Must Stand Together on Pig Welfare

27 June 2012
National Farmers Union

UK - A failure to fully enforce European pig welfare rules by the 2013 deadline will damage the image of the industry, the National Pig Association has warned.

NPA director Stewart Houston told delegates at a Copa communications seminar in Brussels how the UK had enforced a ban on sow stalls in 1999 and urged the rest of Europe to follow suit by 1 January 2013 or risk tarnishing the reputation of the entire sector.

"In the UK we have battled poor profitability, high feed costs and difficult planning restrictions which have forced many producers out of the industry. It is very important that the reputation of the sector is intact for those that want to continue producing pork,” he said.

Latest European Commission figures show three member states are already compliant with the ban on sow stalls, including the UK. Fifteen say they will be compliant by 2013, five more say they will be at least 90 per cent compliant by 2013, two will be 70-90 per cent compliant with two more yet to give figures.

Mr Houston added: "I am very concerned that the EU's excellent work on welfare could be damaged by a handful of countries that fail to enforce these welfare regulations.

"I cannot over-emphasise the need for European decision makers, Member State governments, processors, retailers and producers to work together towards compliance as quickly as possible.

"Further to that we must ensure any reduction in production as a result of new welfare rules is not filled by imports from countries outside of the EU that produce pork to standards that would be illegal in Europe. By the same token the European market must not be distorted by pork products from non-compliant farms within Europe."

Stewart Houston was talking at a Copa communications seminar in Brussels on Monday, 25 July. Copa is the European farmers’ organisation.

The EU pig welfare directive laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs will come into force on 1 January 2013.

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