SEVEN months have passed since the European Union introduced a ban on keeping sows in stalls and yet data published yesterday by the European Commission confirmed that only 13 member countries were fully compliant with the legislation.
This means, according to the National Pig Association representing the British pig industry, that half of European Union countries have failed to clamp down on pig farms where sows are illegally confined for most of their lives.
The NPA asked retailers and food manufacturers in this country to continue to be vigilant against imports from non- compliant countries as British consumers expect all imported pork and pork products to be traceable back to compliant farms.
The commission started infringement proceedings against nine countries in February: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Portugal. The Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Finland, and Slovenia are still being investigated.
Under pressure from the NPA, 100 leading companies and brands in the UK have pledged total traceability for the imported pork and pork products they sell. These include most major retailers and leading foodservice companies such as McDonald’s, Costa and Premier Inn.
“Sow stalls are narrow cages. They make life easier for pig farmers, but they are medieval in the eyes of British consumers because the sows spend most of their lives being able to do little more than stand up and lie down,” said the NPA general manager, Dr Zoe Davies.
“The response to our campaign for traceable higher- welfare pork for British consumers has been outstanding far better than we ever envisaged.”
l US corn futures yesterday fell to their lowest level since late 2010, with favourable crop weather encouraging forecasts for a bumper harvest.
Importers and domestic grain buyers are delaying large purchases before the autumn harvest because they expect prices will drop further, traders and analysts said.
Soybean futures also slid as cool, wet weather boosted harvest projections.
“All buyers are just ‘hands in their pockets’ knowing we have a harvest in front of us,” said Don Roose, president of the US Commodities brokerage.