Extension on organic derogations sought for pig and poultry sector
Published:  19 September, 2017

The industry has warned that an extension on two derogations for organic pig and poultry is vital to the sectors. 

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and National Pig Association (NPA) have formed an alliance to urge the European Commission to extend the derogations when they come to an end on 31 December 2017.

As a result of tight supplies on organic proteins, farmers are currently allowed to feed their pig and poultry up to 5% non-organic protein. When organically-reared pullets – young hens – are unavailable, producers are allowed to buy in pullets that are up to 18 weeks old, as long as they have been managed under the organic feed and veterinary standard. If the Commission does not intervene, however, the derogations will revert back to the original regulations which require a 100% organic diet.

The industry bodies warned that this will have severe consequences on the organic sector. It will also be a major welfare concern for young birds that are extremely vulnerable to predators.

“It is vital for the organic poultry sector that an extension to these derogations is granted as soon as possible,” said NFU deputy president Minette Batters. “Producers are planning now for 2018 and currently have no certainty whether these derogations will be in place.

“Organic producers would like nothing more than to use 100% organic feed, but they don’t want to do this at the expense of their animals’ health and welfare, which is why an extension is important.”

Batters added that the NFU, NPA and other industry experts have met with government officials to stress their concerns. “We will continue to push this agenda with MEPs and the Commission until the situation is resolved,” she said. “The organic poultry sector continues to grow and it would be extremely disappointing to see these concerns go unaddressed.”

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies commented: “It is vital for the organic pig sector that these derogations are extended to ensure that producers can continue to control the welfare and diet of their animals. Without these derogations, there are serious concerns that the pig and poultry sectors would not be able to source the right nutrition to give their animals the best possible diet.”