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Agnew tells Commission some home truths about 2010 battery cage ban
Date 16/12/2010 15:46  Author webmaster  Hits 2213  Language Global
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UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew (Eastern Counties), in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg today has been giving the European Commission some brutal home truths about its ban on battery cages for laying hens, which is due to come into force on 01.01.2012 but for which many member states will be patently unprepared. 

He accused the Commission of “creating a huge crisis in the egg industry” and demanded to know how 83 million (per day) surplus battery cage produced eggs and over 100 million hens could be removed and disposed of in 24 hours.






Even if this could be done, Mr Agnew wanted to know where consumers would find replacements for the 83 million daily eggs taken out of the market.  “To Ukraine, to India, to Argentina, to Brazil, where all the eggs will have been laid in battery cages. Do any of these countries have a reputation for above average bird welfare standards?  Once this trade starts, it will expand rapidly by virtue of its competitive advantage.  It will be very difficult to stop  and it will completely undermine the efforts of colony egg producers in the UK. In effect we will export a large slice of our industry, an industry that has just made a massive investment to stay compliant with EU rules.”

Mr Agnew called for non-compliant member states to be given temporary derogations on the condition that they “spend their regional funds on (egg) stamping machines and also to pay for an inspectorate whose staff are from compliant member states.”  He described this as “the least worst solution” to the crisis created by the Commission.

“Most UK retailers are keen to avoid trading in battery cage eggs after the deadline, but they can only succeed in this, if these eggs are properly identified.”


Full transcript:

Welfare of Laying Hens – Debate, Strasbourg 16.12.2010

President,

The commission has created a huge crisis in the egg industry.  

Like it or not 100 million birds will be in cages on D Day. There is neither the cash nor the logistics to prevent this.

The insistence on the ruthless enforcement of its rules in a year’s time, from the benefit of an armchair, may give the speaker concerned a great feeling of satisfaction but it could seriously jeopardise the long term health of the British egg sector.

Let’s look at the practical implications.  

- how do you remove and dispose of 100 million hens in 24 hours ? -  

Or - how do you safely smash and dispose of 83 million eggs each day ?

On the assumption that you somehow succeed in either of these.....

Where will the consumer turn for their 83 million daily eggs ?

To Ukraine, to India, to Argentina, to Brazil?  Where all the eggs will have been laid in battery cages. Do any of these countries have a reputation for above average bird welfare standards?

Once this trade starts, it will expand rapidly by virtue of its competitive advantage.

It will be very difficult to stop.  

It will completely undermine the efforts of colony egg producers in the UK. In effect we will export a large slice of our industry, an industry that has just made a massive investment to stay compliant with EU rules.

I believe that an intra-community trade ban is a complete non-starter. Not only will it be impossible to police across open borders, but it could be challenged by the WTO.

So, the least bad solution is to allow temporary derogations to non-compliant producers with conditions attached.

There are some naked images I enjoy looking at; but I do not enjoy the visual image of lorry loads of naked, unstamped eggs leaving foreign battery cage units en route to the UK in 2012.

Unstamped eggs are a gift to a fraudulent trader.  We have learned this the hard way in the UK.  

The UK solution is to mechanically stamp eggs with code numbers that represent their method of production at the laying farm itself.  This operation is proceeding on my own farm at this very moment.  The machinery is reliable.

The Commission say that it is far too difficult for them to organise the stamping of a special code number on non-compliant eggs, despite its obvious necessity.  

Yet this is, of course, the same Commission that is forcing UK sheep farmers to unnecessarily identify sheep individually with unreliable electronic equipment. What a glaring inconsistency!

The least bad solution here is for the EU to insist that non-compliant member states spend their Regional funds on stamping machines and to also to pay for an inspectorate whose staff are nationals of compliant member states.   

This inspectorate will also visit packing stations and build up a data base of the processors who use these battery cage eggs in their products.

Most UK retailers are keen to avoid trading in battery cage eggs after the deadline, but they can only succeed in this, if these eggs are properly identified.  

www.stuartagnewmep.co.uk
www.ukip.org
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