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MEPs throw a lifeline to poultry farmers

by 5m Editor
10 April 2006, at 12:00am

EU - The European Parliament plans to help EU chicken farmers facing a sharp drop in consumption due to the outbreak of avian flu. MEPs support Commission efforts to extend compensation not just for those directly affected by the virus, but also for farmers suffering due to the "serious disturbances" on EU markets.

MEPs throw a lifeline to poultry farmers - EU - The European Parliament plans to help EU chicken farmers facing a sharp drop in consumption due to the outbreak of avian flu. MEPs support Commission efforts to extend compensation not just for those directly affected by the virus, but also for farmers suffering due to the "serious disturbances" on EU markets.

Parliament approved a Commission proposal today that would create a legal base for compensating farmers who have been hurt by the sudden decrease in consumer demand for eggs and poultry meat.

MEPs back additional aid for chicken producers
MEPs adopted a few amendments to the proposal. These include explicit mention of emergency vaccination as an alternate method of stamping out the disease, a wish to restrict the emergency measures to "circumstances that pose a threat to livelihoods," and a call to avoid "inflicting unnecessary suffering on animals." MEPs also call for an "information campaign designed to re-establish consumer confidence," and took the opportunity presented by this proposal to express their view that "export refunds are not a valid means of remedying market disturbances."

With the recent spread of avian influenza throughout the European Union, consumer demand for eggs and poultry meat has declined sharply. In some countries, (such as Italy), this decrease has reached up to 70 per cent, drastically lowering poultry farmers' incomes. Currently, the Commission can only offer EU aid to those farmers directly affected by bird flu, such as through compensation for culling stocks, or by paying for losses incurred due to restrictions on the circulation of products because of measures to combat the disease.

The Commission proposal would change the relevant regulation by allowing compensation for "serious market disturbances directly attributed to a loss in consumer confidence due to public health, or animal health risks". The support would benefit from 50% community co-financing. The proposal as approved by Parliament will now be discussed at the agriculture and fisheries council, to be held on 25 April. European ministers are expected to quickly reach a decision, so the new regulation is likely to come into force in the first half of May.

Source: European Parliament - 8th April 2006

5m Editor