One in Four EU Sows Still in Stalls

EU - At the EU Farm Council meeting last week, farm ministers were given figures showing 17 out of 27 European Union countries are still not fully compliant with the partial stalls ban.
calendar icon 5 February 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The UK's National Pig Association (NPA) reports that, of the significant pig-producing countries, Germany, France and Ireland are reported to be least compliant. Even Denmark and the Netherlands are not fully compliant.

However, Brussels continues to oppose any unilateral action by member countries, such as banning imports of pork and pork products from illegal farms.

The health and consumer department made it clear yesterday to NPA general manager, Zoe Davies, that it is unhappy about NPA's continued references to 'illegal farms' and 'illegal pigs'.

However, NPA believes the Commission remains complacent about the level non-compliance, and will continue to use these terms. Like the United Kingdom government, it says any non-compliance is distorting and undermines European Union credibility.

Generally the former eastern bloc countries are most compliant because many of their state farms were built with group housing rather than stalls.

Sow stall ban compliance in EU Member States
Country Compliance (%)
Austria 100
Bulgaria 100
Estonia 100
Latvia 100
Lithuania 100
Luxemburg 100
Romania 100
Slovakia 100
Sweden 100
UK 100
Czech Republic 99
Hungary 99
Italy 99
Finland 98
Netherlands 98
Spain 96
Slovenia 95
Denmark 94
Poland 93
Malta 90
Belgium 89
Greece 82
Ireland 82
Germany 73
France 72
Cyprus 63
Portugal 58

Overall, 25 per cent of the European Union's 13 million sows are still being kept for most of their productive lives in stalls.

The United Kingdom has criticised the European Union for failing to implement the partial stalls ban, which comes 12 years after the initial agreement.

Health commissioner, Tonio Borg, said that countries that have failed to comply must provide regular updates to show their progress towards compliance.

Farm ministers must apply "dissuasive" sanctions to non-compliant farms, he said at the meeting.

NPA has previously reported that Brussels will send out warnings to non-compliant at the end of next month. This will be the first step in the Commission's infringement procedure.

The stalls ban enforcement process will take more than a year. European Union countries that have failed to enforce the ban on battery cages for hens - introduced January 2012 - will not be referred to the European Court of Justice until the Commission implements its next infringement package in February.

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