THE majority of EU member states are still not fully compliant with the partial sow stalls ban nearly a month after it came into force, according to new figures.
The figures released at the latest EU Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels late last month showed 17 out of the 27 EU member states had not complied with the new welfare regulation that came into force on January 1.
Of the significant pig-producing countries, Germany (73% compliant), France (72%) and Ireland (82%) are reported to be least compliant.
Denmark and the Netherlands, the two biggest exporters to the UK are not fully compliant, although they both reported compliance figures in excess of 90%. Least compliant of all was Portugal at just 58%.
Philip Lymbery, Compassion in World Farming’s chief executive, says hefty fines should be implemented to those who continue to flout the law.
He said: “Member states need to act decisively on this matter and show non-compliant farmers that there are consequences for breaking the law.
“The compliance figures received in January were dangerously low and the reality is even worse. How can they continue to let this happen?
“Farmers from countries obeying the law are the ones disadvantaged and who are being punished. This must change. It is unjust, completely preventable and there is no excuse for it.”
Until all welfare aspects for sows and meat pigs have been met within indoor systems, Compassion urges consumers to buy pig products from free-range or outdoor reared / outdoor bred systems (finished in straw barns) that deliver a higher welfare potential.
In the first step in its infringement procedure, the Commission will send out warnings to non-compliant countries at the end of February 2013.