The EU poultry meat and egg sector: Main features, challenges and prospects

In-Depth Analysis 26-11-2019

While the EU chicken-meat and egg sector shows some diversity in terms of farm and flock size, yield and types of farming within and between European countries, it is known to be one of the most intensive farming systems in the EU, with farms numbering hundreds of thousands of birds. This paper aims to provide an overview of the sector's structure in the EU and of the relevant legislation and policy instruments – from CAP support to farmers, and trade and marketing standards, to legislation with relevance to food safety, animal health and welfare, and environmental protection. The analysis focuses on the main issues affecting the sector, a number of which are linked to the large-scale and intensive methods of production widely used. Attention is also given to the outlook for the sector and international trade aspects, as the EU is one of the top four chicken-meat producers in the world. Attention is also given to the European Parliament's recent resolution on animal welfare, antimicrobial use and the environmental impact of industrial broiler farming. This paper is one in an EPRS series focusing on the EU's various agricultural sectors.