A failure to fully enforce European pig welfare rules by the 2013 deadline will damage the image of the industry, the National Pig Association has warned.
NPA director Stewart Houston told delegates at a Copa communications seminar in Brussels how the UK had enforced a ban on sow stalls in 1999 and urged the rest of Europe to follow suit by January 1, 2013 or risk tarnishing the reputation of the entire sector. Copa is the European farmers' organisation.
"In the UK we have battled poor profitability, high feed costs and difficult planning restrictions, which have forced many producers out of the industry," he said. "It is very important that the reputation of the sector is intact for those that want to continue producing pork."
Latest European Commission figures show three member states are compliant with the ban on sow stalls, including the UK.
Fifteen member states say they will be compliant by 2013, five more say they will be at least 90 per cent compliant by 2013, two will be between 70 and 90 per cent compliant – with two more yet to give figures.