Forty per cent of European pork now “illegal”, claims NPA
Around 40% of pigs in the European Union will now come from farms breaking the new welfare rules introduced on 1 January 2013, according to the National Pig Association (NPA).
This information has led the NPA to renew its call to UK shoppers to look for the British independent Red Tractor logo when buying pork.
Figures put together by the NPA stated that about 40,000 pigs an hour would be sent to Continental processing plants from welfare rule-breaking farms. The pigs, said the NPA, will come from farms on the Continent where the sows are confined in stalls, which is now outlawed by EU animal welfare legislation.
As a result of this information, the European Commission health and consumer department has called EU member countries to a meeting at the end of January to talk about the “crisis”. In this country, farm minister David Heath has called a meeting on 6 February to “assess the level of civil disobedience taking place on Continental pig farms”, added the NPA.
“Stalls have not been used in the UK for many years, but figures released by Brussels this month show that 80% of European Union countries have not yet complied with the ban,” the NPA added.
The NPA has also said that some European countries were strict enforcers of the ban, but that others did not have the means to identify law-breaking farms, which meant Europe was going to have a significant law-breaking problem for some time to come.
NPA chairman Richard Longthorp said: “We have been pressuring Brussels for more than a year to take measures to protect European consumers from illegally produced pigmeat. Its stock response has always been that it could do nothing until 1 January 2013. Well that date is now upon us and it needs to act urgently to have any chance of keeping its integrity intact.”