EU countries failing to comply with sow stall ban

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

EU has banned sow stalls in favour of open housing
EU has banned sow stalls in favour of open housing

Related tags: European union

Only 13 EU countries are compliant with the EU sow stall ban, despite it coming into force almost eight months ago, the UK’s National Pig Association (NPA) has revealed.

As a result, the organisation has warned retailers and food manufacturers to be wary of “illegal”​ pork imports from “non-compliant”​ countries, which the NPA described as failing “to clamp down on pig farms where sows are illegally confined for most of their lives”.

New data from the European Commission showed the countries compliant with the sow stall ban included Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK, where stalls have been banned outright since 1999.

Meanwhile, infringement proceedings were started against nine countries in February, including Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Portugal. Meanwhile the NPA said the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Finland and Slovenia were still being investigated.

NPA general manager Dr Zoe Davies said: “Sow stalls are narrow cages. They make life easier for pig farmers, but they are medieval in the eyes of British consumers because the sows spend most of their lives being able to do little more than stand up and lie down. The response to our campaign for traceable higher-welfare pork for British consumers has been outstanding — far better than we ever envisaged.”

She also explained that, at the start of 2013, nearly 40,000 pigs were being delivered to Continental processing plants every hour and the pigs were from illegally operated pig farms.

Davies noted that consumers in the UK could “unwittingly”​ be supporting the trade in illegally-farmed pigs, as the country imports around 60% of its processed pork. She said, like in other parts of Europe, consumers in Britain would expect that their pork could be traced back to the farm.

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