We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Government should protect British eggs"

November 30, 2011 6:15 PM
By Bill Newton Dunn MEP
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Bill Newton Dunn, Euro-MP for the East Midlands, will support the Government should it seek to ban the import of egg products from those EU countries that have failed to eliminate conventional battery cages.

The Laying Hens Directive was approved in 1999 as an animal welfare measure. It gives EU member states until 1 January 2012 to introduce "enriched" cages that give hens space to perch and stretch their wings.

Farmers in the UK and some EU states, but not all, have spent millions in order to become compliant but a number of member states, including Belgium, Poland, Hungary and Greece, have failed to apply the legislation effectively.

The European Commission says that it will start legal action against countries that are in breach of the rules, but it claims that it has no power to prevent eggs from hens in battery cages being placed on the EU market or sold to food manufacturers in tankloads of liquid egg.

Bill Newton Dunn said:

"The single market has brought great benefits for all in Europe. But the UK minister must deliver on his promise to protect the industry and the only acceptable solution would be for the UK authorities to ban the import of any illegal eggs and egg products. If egg products from non-compliant EU countries can be identified their use should be prohibited in the UK.

"I support the farmers who have made expensive changes to their farms to meet the new EU standards and to ensure good animal and bird welfare. Such action would help the European Commission apply pressure on governments who have not met the standards we have all agreed to. If EU law is seen to be 'take it or leave it' we are going to struggle with the upcoming welfare rules on pig stalls and tethers which come into force in 2013."