EU must stand together on pig welfare, says NPA

UK pig industry bosses have warned European officials that the reputation of the entire EU pig industry will be severely damaged if the welfare rules due to come in 2013 are not fully enforced.

Speaking at a Copa communications seminar in Brussels yesterday (25 June), NPA director Stewart Houston said: “I am very concerned that the EU’s excellent work on welfare could be damaged by a handful of countries that fail to enforce these welfare regulations.

“I cannot over-emphasise the need for European decision-makers, member state governments, processors, retailers and producers to work together towards compliance as quickly as possible.

“Further to that, we must ensure any reduction in production as a result of new welfare rules is not filled by imports from countries outside the EU that produce pork to standards that would be illegal in Europe. By the same token, the European market must not be distorted by pork products from non-compliant farms within Europe.”

He told delegates that the UK pig industry had battled poor profitability, high feed costs and difficult planning restrictions, which had forced many producers out of the industry.

“It is very important that the reputation of the sector is intact for those who want to continue producing pork,” he said.

The most recent figures from the European Commision have revealed that three member states are already compliant, and 15 member states should be fully compliant with the directive by January 2013. A further five say they will be 90% compliant and two more will be 70-90%. Two member states have yet to give any figures.

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