Consumer confidence in integrity of free range egg production — avian flu housing restrictions
Question for written answer E-005140-17
to the Commission
John Stuart Agnew (EFDD)
It is essential that consumer confidence is maintained in the integrity of free range egg production. The premium paid for these eggs needs to be justified.
Does the Commission agree that the erection of an outdoor covered area, equivalent to 20% of the housing area, wire-meshed at the sides, is a reasonable compromise after the birds have already been compulsorily housed for 16 weeks?
This proposal is based on a voluntary decision made by producers, who will need to make a significant investment to erect these structures.
There are well-founded concerns that avian flu is now endemic in the wild bird population of many western European countries. This means that housing orders will become an annual event. Repeated outbreaks from the autumn and into the late spring could result in housing order periods overlapping to form a continuous period of nine months. Free range egg production would lose consumer confidence in this scenario.