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EU Illegal Eggs a Major Concern

News Section Icon Published 06/10/2011

Compassion has called for strict time limits in new Commission plan on battery eggs

Compassion in World Farming was shocked by a proposal from the EU Commissioner in charge of animal welfare last week that will mean illegal eggs could still be used after a ban on barren battery cages comes into force in January next year.

In a meeting of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, Commissioner John Dalli said there would be no postponement of the ban but said he was looking for a "solution" for those producers who had ignored the deadline, raising the prospect of illegally produced eggs being sold for processing i.e. for use in products such as pasta and ready meals that utilise egg as an ingredient.

Twelve years to prepare

Joyce D'Silva, Compassion in World Farming's Director of Public Affairs, said: "Commissioner Dalli's proposal to legalise the use of illegally produced battery eggs in the Member State of production, is an attempt to deal with a situation that simply shouldn't exist. Egg producers across Europe have been aware of the ban on the barren battery cage for more than a decade. The fact that some of them are still not ready is disgraceful and will have a terrible impact on the lives of millions of hens."

"If this plan does go ahead it must be for as short a time as possible. A strict transitional period of six months is more than adequate. Any longer would result in non-compliant farmers in countries such as Spain and Poland having a reduced incentive to move away from battery cages. Why should farmers bother to move away from battery cages if they can legally sell their eggs?"

Deterrent needed

The Commission now needs to concentrate on ensuring that Member States fully enforce the ban on the barren cage and the sale of eggs from hens in barren cages as soon as these laws come in to effect next January. In 2008, Compassion carried out an investigation into pig farms in the EU that revealed widespread flouting of the European Pig Directive. With the 2013 EU ban on sow stalls coming in on 1st January 2013, the Commission needs to show it is prepared to deal with those who flout the law.

 

Take action

Please take our latest action to Commissioner Dalli urging him to ensure that any plan to allow the use of eggs from hens in barren battery cages as an ingredient in products such as pasta, cakes and ready meals in the country of production, is for a strictly transitional period of no longer than six months.