France Urged to Meet Sow Stall Ban

26 September 2012, at 12:21pm

FRANCE - Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has delivered a 12,500-signature petition to the French Agricultural Ministry and is calling for urgent government action to enforce the 2013 EU ban on sow stalls.

Director of Compassion’s French office Leopoldine Charbonneaux (centre), before delivering cake and petition to the French Agricultural Ministry.

After delivering a petition signed by more than 12,000 people, most of them French citizens, Compassion staff met with representatives from the French Agricultural Ministry and put forward three specific demands:

  • That the French government ensures the country’s pig industry complies with the sow stall ban on time and in full.
  • That the government publishes an action plan to demonstrate how this will be achieved.
  • That the government addresses the issue of consumers unwittingly buying pork products produced on farms that maintain illegal systems after 1 January 2013.

Director of CIWF France Leopoldine Charbonneaux, who delivered the petition with a cake with the lettering “set the pigs free“ before participating in talks with ministry officials, says France is clearly lagging behind in compliance with the 2013 partial ban on sow stalls.

She said: “Not only is that a terrible situation for the hundreds of thousands of sows trapped in these stalls for their entire pregnancies, unable to turn around, it’s bad news for those farmers in our country and other EU states that have made the changes at a cost to themselves. They don’t deserve to be out of pocket just because others think they can ignore the rules.“

She added: “It’s the duty of the French government to make sure French farmers are ready for the ban, which won’t be the case as things stand. We welcome the government’s recent announcement of more funds to help pig farmers comply but there needs to be an overwhelming effort between now and the New Year if France is to avoid the shame of failing to uphold such a vital EU animal welfare law in 2013.“

The meeting and petition delivery was the latest action in Compassion’s Project Pig campaign, which aims to build on the legislative advances made within the EU, with specific regard to enforcing the Pigs Directive across Europe.

With particular emphasis on the 2013 Sow Stall Ban, Project Pig lobbies DEFRA, the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Agriculture Ministers to stop some of the routine abuses of pig welfare.

France is one of nine countries still not able to guarantee it will be compliant with the 2013 ban. The others are: Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia.

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