MEPs hear retailers’ plans for sow stall ban
MEPs have held a “constructive” meeting in Brussels with European retailers to find out how retailers intend to work with the Commission to ensure their pig producing suppliers are compliant with the ban on partial sow stall and tethers that comes into effect on 1 January 2013.
George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, and five other MEPs organised the summit to discuss the role played by major retailers and how they plan to deal with the impact of the legislation. At present, 18 of the 27 member states will be compliant by the deadline, and a Bpex report in the summer estimated that pig production could decline by up to 10% across the EU, leading to serious shortages and price increases.
Retailers Asda, Tesco, Lidl, Westfleisch, QS Qualität und Sicherheit GmbH, and Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) were represented at the discussion.
Ahead of the meeting, Lyon had said he wanted retailers to pledge they would not source illegally-produced pig meat and he reiterated his view that more work needs to be done in order to avoid repeating the problems caused in the egg industry by changes to directives on laying hens.
He said: “With less than four months until the ban comes into force, both retailers and the industry must redouble their efforts to help producers comply with the legislation.
“If progress cannot be made towards total compliance, then I will seek guarantees that retailers will only source legally produced pork from farms that meet the new higher-welfare standards demanded by the EU.
“I look forward to further discussion on this issue in the weeks ahead.”
Bpex director Mick Sloyan said: “Our analysis shows the scale of the challenge facing the pig meat supply chain across Europe. Retailers have an important role to play in ensuring the future supply of food from legally compliant farms.”