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Implementation of new EU pig welfare regulations?

The debate on the real levels of ‘2013-compliance’ across Europe continued unabated. The estimates provided by the EU Commission in February were treated with much cynicism by British pig industry interests. The Danish industry continued to reaffirm its belief that compliance was in place across Denmark. If any cases of non-compliance were found, any evidence of neglect of responsibilities in complying with the new rules would be strictly punished.

The British pig industry interests have continued to raise concerns about lack of enforcement of the new rules across the EU and the prospects of ‘illegally produced’ pig meat arriving on the market in a few months.

The National Pig Association continued to promote their 'Wall of Fame (or Shame)' and retailers and meat processors were pressed to sign a pledge stating that “all of the pork we use has come from legal farms”.

BPEX has launched a new trade campaign, supported by a new website 'Compliant Pork' including regular updates on levels of compliance across the EU.

Information released by the EU Commission suggested that only 10 out of the 27 Member States are 100% compliant with the new regulations, with a further 5 at least 98% compliant.

100%: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom
99%: Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy
98%: Finland, Netherlands
96%: Spain
95%: Slovenia
94%: Denmark
93%: Poland
90%: Malta
89%: Belgium
82%: Greece, Ireland
73%: Germany
72%: France
63%: Cyprus
58%: Portugal

The Danish industry were keen to stress that the 94% figure given for their country was based on figures supplied by the Danish government, linked to research (300 telephone interviews) undertaken in November 2012 and may not reflect the real situation ‘on the ground’ today.

The Danish authorities have made it clear that any farmers found to have disregarded their responsibilities in observing the new rules will be dealt with severely under the process of law and will forfeit their entitlement to support under the EU Single Farm Payments. This will surely be made very clear to the recent demands made by the EU Commission for certain Member States, including Denmark, to enforce the new regulations properly.

In addition, the traceability and control systems operating within the industry will ensure that all Danish pig meat delivered to the UK market will fully comply with all EU and Danish legislation.

LandbrugsAvisen, one of Denmark’s leading farming titles, published an interview with three of Denmark’s largest suppliers of equipment to the pig industry, who confirmed their belief that Danish pig producers had completed the transition to group housing of pregnant sows – on the basis of an extremely busy trading period during the latter months of 2012.

• ACO Funki
• Jydenbur
• Egebjerg International

Pig Industry Matters includes a special feature this month ‘2013: A snapshot of Denmark’s journey to compliance’, which presents ‘case studies’ of how three Danish pig farmers recently adapted their production to the new rules.