EU sow group housing deadline will be missed by some
Several European Union member states will fail to meet the deadline of January 1 to convert all sow breeding facilities to group housing systems.
Frans van Dongen, representative for the Dutch meat sector at the EU, told Dutch agricultural journal Boerderij that behind the scenes this is crystal clear, although no single European member state officially stated to miss the deadline.
In June, the European Commission revealed that nine EU member states would have problems to meet the deadline. Animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming identified these as being Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. The organisation is building up the pressure on these governments.
Van Dongen said that the European Commission continues to inform at the various member states to find out how far they got in the conversion process. This way, the commission hopes to put as much pressure as possible on the member states to proceed.
It seems pretty clear, however, that January 1 comes too early for various countries. The European Commission will thus be confronted with pig supplies from illegal housing systems after January 1. Key question will be how the commission will deal with this problem. Van Dongen said: "Piglets are not like eggs that can be treated industrially. In addition, there is no stamp on them that shows in what kind of housing system they lived. Moreover, the meat does not show any difference either.”
• European Commission
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