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Farron demands tougher government stance on rogue egg-producing nations

December 13, 2011 10:50 AM

TF ruralLocal poultry farmers are losing out because of poor regulation on their foreign competitors, says South Lakes MP, Tim Farron. Tim is today calling on the Government to adopt a firmer attitude towards EU member states who are failing to enforce regulations on improved animal welfare and in the process reduce the number of battery-farmed eggs appearing in UK shops and supermarkets.

In response to an EU-wide directive, due to take effect from January 2012, British farmers have invested over £400 million to provide improved poultry accommodation, meaning larger hen cages that include separate nesting and scratching areas facilitating more natural behaviour. It has been announced by the European Commission this week, however, that 13 out of the 27 EU countries will not be in compliance by the deadline, potentially putting British egg producers at a financial disadvantage.

Agriculture minister, Jim Paice, last week claimed that no outright ban could be placed on the sale of imported eggs from countries with inferior conditions as a result of 'significant' legal and financial obstacles, as well as difficulties over enforcement. Instead, a voluntary consensus between domestic retailers, egg producers, processors, and the food service sector has been reached to combat the chances of UK consumers buying them without their knowledge or consent.

Commenting Tim said: "Our farmers have made an enormous effort to and spent huge amounts of money to improve animal welfare standards for laying hens and this has rightly become a top priority. However this effort will be a complete waste if Supermarkets are able to undercut our farmers' egg prices by importing cheaper caged-hen eggs from the rogue states in Europe that have failed to enforce legislation passed nearly 13 years ago.

"British poultry farmers should be rewarded for improving animal welfare, not disadvantaged. What we need now is much tougher action from the government to ban the imports of caged-hen eggs and we must ensure that supermarkets and other retailers do not now import eggs from countries that are not playing fair."