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NI Egg Producers Call for Fair Price

13 December 2011, at 9:56am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union Poultry Policy Committee Chairman John McLenaghan has called for processors, retailers and the food service industry to ensure they are paying their producers a fair price for their eggs.

Mr McLenaghan said: “The EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive, which comes into effect on 1 January 2012, has seen egg producers making a substantial investment into their businesses to ensure that the eggs produced here in Northern Ireland are compliant with these new EU regulations. The investment has been for good reason, resulting in better welfare for hens and meaning that Northern Ireland has some of the highest welfare standards in the world."

"Farmers have always had animal welfare at the forefront of their minds and now retailers and consumers are also becoming more and more conscious of animal welfare. The new enriched colonies mean that hens have more space to move around and can exhibit natural behaviours such as scratching and perching."

“However, in order to achieve this high standard of hen welfare farmers have had to make a significant financial investment and for many this has totalled hundreds of thousands of pounds. Furthermore, the nature of the new system allows hens to move around more meaning they are expending more energy and therefore require more feed in order to produce eggs resulting in an increased cost of production to the farmer."

“With these considerations in mind, it is clear that Northern Ireland’s egg producers need to see a rise in their farm gate price of up to 15p per dozen. However, this is a small price for the retail and food service industry to pay for high quality eggs in order to supply their customers with the welfare friendly eggs they are demanding. Overall eggs are still excellent value for money.”