Sows will continue to suffer as 14 EU nations expected to break the law

More than 13m sows were to have their lives improved, thanks to the EU ban on sow stalls, but official data shows that up to 14 nations will not comply with the ban on time.

The partial sow stall ban came into force on 1 January, but Compassion in World Farming has voiced concern over figures it recently viewed.

According to the animal rights charity, Italy, Poland, Cyprus, Finland, Spain, Greece, Slovenia, France, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark are not expected to comply fully with the ban.

CEO of Compassion in World Farming Philip Lymbery said: “There is no excuse for this, given the lengthy phase-in period that all members of the EU have had to prepare for the 2013 ban. Eleven years is ample time for producers to adjust their systems, those who are non-compliant should not be playing the victim.”

Lymbery explained that farmers across the EU have had since 2001 to adjust their systems and said the fact that there was non-compliance in 14 nations was a poor reflection on member states not treating it seriously.

He said: “Many UK retailers have already pledged not to sell pork products from non-compliant countries, once the ban comes into force. I would encourage all retailers and processors to follow suit to demonstrate to non-compliant member states that this disregard of the law and of sows’ welfare, will not be tolerated.”

Poor compliance across the EU has led Lymbery to comment on imports of pork into the UK from other EU countries. “With approximately 60% of British pig meat being imported – it is cause for extreme concern: for the pigs’ welfare, for consumers and their apparent confusion and indeed for our British farmers,” Lymbery said.

“With the UK having brought in the ban in 1999, it is high time that UK farmers were able to operate on a level playing field with the rest of the EU.”

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