Currently millions of Europe's pigs spend almost their entire pregnancies months at a time in restrictive and prison-like conditions. In a sow stall, a pig's movement is so limited that she cannot carry out most of her basic natural behaviours -- such as rooting, foraging and exploring. She cannot even turn around.
Thankfully, an EU wide ban on using these stalls which effectively ends their use after the first four weeks of pregnancy will come into force on the 1st January 2013. This is a remarkable step forward for pig welfare and will result in millions of pigs living better lives.
Yet, appallingly, many of the 27 EU member states will not be ready in time for the ban -- even though they have had more than 11 years to prepare!
Join us and send a strong message to the Agriculture Ministers in these member states, telling them to make preparations so their countries can comply with the ban on time and in full.
I am troubled to learn that your nation may not meet the deadline for implementation of the EU ban on sow stalls.
Article 3(4) of Directive 2008/120/EC on the protection of pigs states that EU Member States shall ensure that sows and gilts are kept in groups during a period starting from four weeks after the service to one week before the expected time of farrowing.
From 1 January 2013, the group housing of sows will be compulsory in all pig holdings containing ten or more sows.
Given that the requirement for group housing of sows was adopted in 2001 with a long transitional period granted to Member States and producers to adapt, it is with real concern that I note your nation may not be compliant on time.
Please can you urgently confirm that you will:
Produce and publish an action plan setting out what needs to be done so that your nation is able to meet the 1 January 2013 deadline for complying with the ban.
- Take all steps that are necessary to ensure that your pig industry does indeed fully comply with the ban by that date.
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