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Thursday, 16 December 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Welfare of laying hens (debate)

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE).(PT) Mr President, Commissioner, with regard to the subject being debated here today, allow me to start by reiterating that I believe, firstly, that directives should actually be complied with and that this is equally true for Directive 1999/74/EC, and, secondly, that concerns over animal welfare is a flagship issue that the European Union should uphold. That said, it is important to stress that adapting to the directive is quite burdensome for the sector’s companies: 30% per hen in Portugal. Moreover, there is no specific support from the Rural Development programme for this purpose.

As a result of the lack of capital in this sector, limited bank credit and the crisis in general, it is imperative and urgent to acknowledge that the adaptation of many companies has been delayed. It is therefore important to allow extra time for those companies – and only those companies – that have already started to adapt as required.

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