Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Pig Welfare Must Not Face Same Fate As Chicken Standards

Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff
(East of England)

LOCAL Lib Dem Euro-MP Andrew Duff has signed up to a campaign in the European Parliament putting pressure on farmers across Europe to meet pig welfare standards.

Cambridgeshire pig farmers have already invested heavily in higher welfare practices and will comply with new rules which come into force at the start of next year.

However, it is believed that more than half of EU member states will fail to meet the January 2013 deadline for banning sow stalls, which have been outlawed in the UK since 1999.

Cambridgeshire Euro-MP Andrew Duff is campaigning to collect the signatures of at least half of the European Parliament's 754 members to adopt a written declaration calling for action to ensure the ban is implemented in time.

Andrew Duff said: "It is absolutely essential for Cambridgeshire farmers to  be able to compete on the same level playing field across Europe otherwise they will be undercut by producers in other EU countries with lower welfare standards.

"It is equally important that consumers can rest assured that when they buy pork products they have been produced to the highest welfare standards."

The campaign to ensure that pig welfare standards are equally implemented in all EU countries follows a similar fight for EU-wide compliance with new chicken welfare rules which came into force at the beginning of this year. The European Commission has launched infringement procedures against 13 countries where farmers still do not comply with the new requirement of enriched cages for hens.

Andrew Duff added: "We must not allow pigs to become the new chickens. Farmers still have almost a whole year to make the necessary investments to improve pig welfare standards. UK farmers have managed to raise standards - the rest of Europe must follow."