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Spanish Farmers Call for Time to Convert Farms

1 February 2012, at 10:06am

SPAIN - Spanish poultry and pig farmers have called on the government for loans and more time to convert their farms to meet new EU welfare legislation.

In a meeting with the agriculture minister, the head of COAG, the Spanish farmers' organisation, Miguel Arias Cañete, said the poultry farmers need the loans to meet the regulations that came into effect at the beginning of the year demanding laying hens be housed in new enriched cages and banning battery cages.

Snr Arias Cañete said without government help thousands of poultry farms could be forced to close.

The cost of adapting a farm in Spain has been estimated at between €15 and €20 per laying hen which for an average Spanish poultry farm of 40,000 birds could be up to €720,000.

Snr Arias Cañete also called for a moratorium of two years to allow the changes to be carried out.

"The impact of the legislation is clear. Many farms cannot cope with these big economic investments, given the lack of liquidity and credit and therefore will have to close, dismantling the economic and social fabric associated with them in rural areas," said Jose Luis Iranzo head of livestock production at COAG.

He said that the 1000 laying farms in Spain could be cut by 40 per cent to just 600 farms.

The Spanish farming union has also voiced concern over the imminent change to the regulations covering pig units in the country, which from 1 January 2013 will have to introduce new welfare regulations.

COAG said that more than 75,000 farms will have to adapt to the welfare regulations banning the use of stalls.

The farming organisation has estimated that this will cost about €250-€300 per animal producing a total investment of more than €700 million.

"You can throw away years of work to provide a safe and healthy product at reasonable prices," said Snr Iranzo.

"Pork and poultry production have achieved high standards of quality and productivity based on large investments to build a model of sustainable production that is very competitive."

He said that the new measures that will call for 30 per cent more space for each animal will mean a lower productivity and will open the doors to imports from third countries that do not comply with EU rules on animal welfare, producing unfair competition."

He said that COAG is calling on the EU to demand imports from third countries meet the same standards in food safety, environmental friendliness, social welfare and working practices that apply in the EU.


Further Reading

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