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Govt Plans to Tackle Battery Hen Egg Imports

2 December 2011, at 9:37am

WALES, UK - The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the announcement by the Welsh Government that it will take steps to protect the Welsh egg industry from illegally produced imports.

In order to address animal welfare concerns, an EU-wide ban on the use of battery cages for laying hens will come into force in January 2012.

This means birds kept for laying will no longer be housed in conventional cages and will be subject to minimum housing requirements.

"Welsh livestock farmers and egg producers have invested a large amount of money to ensure the industry complies with the conventional cage ban and general EU animal welfare standards but elsewhere in Europe a large number of producers are not ready, meaning millions of hens will still be kept in cramped cages below even minimum welfare requirements," said FUW livestock, wool and marts committee chairman Dafydd Roberts.

The FUW has long been campaigning for equal animal welfare standards across European Member States and welcomes the move to inspect premises receiving imported eggs directly from these Member States from the beginning of January 2012.

"Under current EU regulations we cannot ban the imports of eggs from other EU Member States but the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency maintains a register of packing centres and wholesalers and this includes details of which premises handle imported eggs."

"Welsh producers are severely disadvantaged if they have to compete with food imports that have been produced to lower standards and as such are more price competitive," said Mr Roberts.

"Focusing efforts on inspecting and checking whether eggs that have been imported into Wales are derived from hens reared in conventional cages is therefore a welcome move."

"It has to be a level playing field and if farmers here in Wales and the UK have to adhere to EU standards so should every other EU country," added Mr Roberts.

Further Reading

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