There are now only nine months before new EU pig welfare regulations, including the partial ban on the use of sow stalls, come into force. At a meeting in Brussels on 19 March, the EU Commission revealed that only 12 Member States have confirmed that they expect their producers to be fully compliant with the new regulations by the end of the year.
Only three, the UK, Sweden and Luxembourg, already meet the requirements. A further seven Member States stated that over 90 per cent of their pig holdings will be compliant. In five others the proportion will be between 70 and 89 per cent. Three countries were unable to give a figure but said that currently at most 60 per cent of their holdings were compliant.
The new regulations were one of the reasons behind sharp falls in the size of the EU pig breeding herd recorded in recent censuses, although the difficult financial situation was also a factor. With most Member States having reported, the number of breeding sows has fallen by around 450,000 head or over three per cent (see EMS 12/08).
Friday March 31, 2012/ BPEX/ United Kingdom.