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Irish Egg Producers Get Grant to Update Cages

by 5m Editor
21 July 2009, at 11:11a.m.

IRELAND - Egg producers are to receive €16 million to meet the new EU cage standards.

Irish Times reports that the country's poultry producers are to receive €16 million from the Government to help them meet new strict welfare standards for producing eggs from the caged system that will become law in 2012.

The EU laying hens directive will ban the current system of cages which will have to be replaced by enriched cages which had been forced on producers by welfare organisations such as Compassion in World Farming Ireland. Enriched cages provide more room for the hens, plus a nest, litter for dust bathing, a claw-shortening device and a perch. They go some way to meeting the demands of welfare organisations seeking a total ban on cages.

The Irish Egg Association, the representative body for the Irish egg industry welcomes the announcement by Brendan Smith, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to allocate €16 million of the money which was announced last week.

He said the funding would come from a new €113 million targeted scheme for on-farm investment to support a number of specific categories of farmers and was focused on supporting productive investment.

"We welcome this announcement and the funding is vital to help secure the future of the Irish egg industry," said John Mohan, chairman of egg association, in a statement last week.

"From 2012 the traditional caged system for producing eggs cannot be used in the EU and Irish egg farmers will need to invest at least €40 million to convert to the new enriched cage system."

Converting to the system would require major investment, which was vital if Ireland was to keep its egg industry and ensure a supply of home produced eggs, he said.

"Irish people want to eat Irish eggs and the industry faces significant funding challenges for the future to meet the needs of the new EU legislation. This is a welcome vote of confidence in the Irish egg sector from the Minister and will make a significant contribution to assist in the modernisation of the sector," Mr Mohan told Irish Times.