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Parliamentary question - E-003283/2012Parliamentary question

Enforcement of animal welfare directives

Question for written answer E-003283/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117
Glenis Willmott (S&D) and Brian Simpson (S&D)

We have been contacted by constituents who are dismayed to hear that the ban on the rearing of hens in ‘battery’ cages, which was introduced by Council Directive 1999/74/EC and came into force on 1 January 2012, has been ignored by 13 Member States.

As UK producers have complied with the directive on time, at a reported cost of over GBP 400 million to the industry, our constituents are right to be concerned that eggs from illegally caged hens are still in production and on sale in the UK and throughout Europe. Producers in our constituencies face unfair and illegal competition from producers who have failed to make the necessary investments. At the same time, the directive is failing to improve the welfare of European hens, with an estimated 50 million hens still in barren battery cages across the EU.

In the Commission’s opinion, what can those Member States who are in compliance with Directive 1999/74/EC legally do to protect their domestic producers from this unfair and illegal competition?

Furthermore, Council Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs introduces a ban on individual sow stalls, which will come into force on 1 January 2013. What is the Commission’s assessment of the likelihood that this ban will be correctly enforced by that date in each Member State?

In the case of sow stalls and in future cases, what measures does the Commission intend to take in advance of the deadline to prevent a situation of widespread non-compliance and unfair competition from arising?

OJ C 124 E, 30/04/2013