NO CAGE-BAN SOLUTION DURING EU AGRI COUNCIL MEETING
EU Agriculture Council takes no decision on concrete action to enforce cage ban
On Monday 14 November, the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council had a meeting in order to debate on various agriculture items, including the implementation of the new welfare directive of laying hens.
It was said that producers in 11 member states, representing 51 millions of hens, are expected not to have converted their production systems conform the new laying hens directive which comes into force on 1st January 2012.
The European Commission will send letters to these 11 member states asking them to update the Commission on their progress.
Most delegations attending this meeting were in favour of maintaining the deadline and the Commission confirmed that this is their intention as well.
There will be sanctions for member states who do not comply.
However, no concrete action was decided about what to do with the millions of non-compliant eggs coming from conventional cage production which will undoubtedly still be present on 1st January 2012.
John Dalli, the EU health commissioner has suggested to keep these non-compliant eggs for industrial uses inside the member state in which they were produced. This suggestion or a "gentleman's agreement" would be reliant on member states' co-operation and would not have any legal backing.
Furthermore it was also pointed out by Portugal, one of the 11 non-compliant nations, that the ban won't stop eggs being imported from third countries where the welfare standards of laying hens are far from equivalent, thus the production cost much lower.