Lyon launches dual EU sow stall campaign
SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon has launched a campaign to up the pressure on the 15 member states that are not expected to comply with the partial EU sow stall ban by next January.
Mr Lyon, along with four colleagues in the European Parliament, is encouraging MEPs to sign a ‘parliamentary declaration’ calling on member states to take ‘urgent action to ensure their pig producers are compliant with the ban’.
Mr Lyon and other MEPs joining him in the campaign are also issuing an invitation to all major European retailers to attend a summit in Brussels to discuss what action they intend to take to guarantee their customers that they will only sell legally produced pork products from the beginning of 2013. The MEPs will seek guarantees that the retailers will boycott all pork products produced illegally.
Speaking in Brussels at a breakfast organised by the National Pig Association to raise the profile of the issue, Mr Lyon said action was needed to ‘ensure that the market is not flooded with illegal pork products in a re-run of the fiasco over the introduction of welfare standards for caged hens’.
Currently 12 member states have said they will be compliant by the time the ban comes into force on January 1, 2013. But questions marks remain over the other 15.
Seven have said they will be ‘at least 90 per cent compliant’, five will have 70-89 per cent compliance, while three have no provisions to comply by the start date.
Mr Lyon said: “The Commission has learned its lesson from the eggs fiasco where they were seen to be dragging their heels on action to enforce the ban on battery cages.
“A year out from the ban on sow stalls coming into force they are already naming and shaming the countries that will not be compliant with new welfare laws when the ban comes into force.
“My parliamentary declaration will send a strong signal of support for the Commission’s tough stance and make it clear to non-compliant states that we want to see urgent action to outlaw the use of stalls and tethers.
“I want retailers to come to Brussels and tell us what action they intend to take to ensure their customers are only supplied with legally produced pork products.
“We want guarantees that they will only source pork produced in high welfare systems.
Mr Lyon said the combination of both political pressure and market pressure should ‘focus minds’ on achieving compliance ahead of the deadline and provide a level playing field for UK pork producers.