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2013 update

As pig production in many EU countries appeared to be on a downward trend, a new report from the EU Commission revealed surprisingly high expected levels of compliance with the new EU rules banning use of sow stalls. Major retailers and foodservice operators pledged to only source pig meat from compliant producers in 2013.

Strong campaigning by British pig industry interests continued in June, and thus updates were published via the new BPEX website ('Countdown to 1-1-13').

Market information suggested that pig production is already declining in many EU Member States, and the prospect of the introduction of new EU rules next year will inevitably play a part in accelerating this trend. The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture suggested that 10% of their country’s pig producers would exit the industry this year.

A new report from the EU Commission suggested that 18 countries expected to be fully compliant with the new rules:

Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Over 90% compliance was forecast for Austria, Finland, Greece, Poland, Slovenia. No figures were available for France and Italy.

These figures were greeted with a degree of scepticism by pig industry interests here as figures for certain Member States conflicted with other information which has become available in recent months.

The French pig producers’ organization, ‘Organisation Nationale des Eleveurs de Porcs’, requested a postponement of the implementation of the new rules and it was reported that the Irish government are to approach the EU for a derogation until September 2013. 

At a meeting convened by DEFRA the major retailers and foodservice operators pledged to ensure that they would only source pig meat from compliant systems, via their respective trade organisations, the British Retail Consortium and the British Hospitality Association. This development was widely reported in the trade and farming press: Meat Trades Journal Farmers Weekly .

As the EU Commision advised 10 Member states of the introduction of legal proceedings if the did not take steps to ensure compliance with the requirement for ‘enriched cages’ for egg production, Compassion in World Farming estimated that 14% of EU eggs are still produced in ‘illegal’ systems.