Level playing field for UK pig farmers

Pig farmers in the UK will be competing on more of a level playing field now it has been announced that 18 EU member states will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by 1 January 2013.

The news was announced this week by the Commission at a meeting of the EU agriculture ministers in Luxembourg.

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 told the Commission their industries will be fully compliant with the ban by the end of 2012. However, Poland expects to have only 94% of its industry free of sow stalls by the time the ban comes in to force in January.

In the UK, sow stalls have been illegal since 1999, but they will not be outlawed in the rest of the EU until the beginning of next year.

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