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Six countries still flouting sow stall ban

Compassion welcomes the news that the final six countries failing to comply with the European Union (EU) partial sow stall ban are being brought to account by the European Commission.

The Commission has sent final legal warning letters to Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and France, for failing to enforce the ban after an initial warning in February 2013.

If not compliant within two months, the Commission may refer the countries to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which has the authority to enforce the ban and impose fines if not adhered to. The Commission has also sent initial warning letters to Slovenia and Finland.

The EU sow stall ban prohibits the use of sow stalls except for the first four weeks in a sow's pregnancy. The ban came in to force in January 2013 after an eleven year phase-out period.

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, says, "After eleven years to prepare for this transition, it is simply inexcusable that six countries are still confining sows illegally and inhumanely in stalls. It is good to see significant action being taken against these countries."

Sow stalls restrict pregnant pigs to steel cages so narrow that they cannot turn around or exhibit important natural behaviours such as rooting, foraging and exploring. Sows kept in this way will often bite the bars through frustration and boredom.

Compassion's Project Pig campaign lobbies for enforcement of the ban along with the other clauses contained in the 2001 Pigs Directive. The campaign monitors breaches of pig welfare in EU countries and Compassion has made formal complaints to the European Commission. With your help, we will continue to campaign until all EU states have ended their illegal use of sow stalls.

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