Sow Stalls Ban Enforcement: Encouraging news from EU Commission !

On October 17 2012, EU Commission held the second Sow Stall meeting of the year (the first one was on March 17 2012) in order to present the enforcement situation about the Sow Stall Directive, coming into force on January 1 2013, after a twelve years transition period.

On March 17 2012, state of implementation of the ban of stalls was bad:

  • 12 Member States in full compliance for 31.12.2012
  • 7 Member States in compliance at 90%
  • 5 Member States in compliance at 70/89%
  • 3 Member States have no prevision for 31.12.2012

The plan situation for 2013 is today really better:

  • 5 Member States in full compliance today, and 12 Member States in full compliance for 31.12.2012
  • 5 Member States in compliance at 90%
  • 4 Member States in compliance at 70/89%
  • 1 Member State (Italy) has no prevision (but according to NGOs, Italy should not reach more than 33% of compliance for January 2013)
EU Commission precised that these date concerns breeding and not sows, for which data are even better (when a breeding is not 100% compliant, it is excluded from these percents).
This real improvement of the enforcement state of play is linked to the fact that EU Commission clearly does not want to repeat the fiasco of the cage-eggs ban and has made of Enforcement of Animal Welfare legislation the First priority of the new Animal Welfare Strategy.
Laurence Bonafoss, from DG SANCO of EU Commission has explained that EU Commission has used all existing tools in order to improve sow stalls ban compliance. A special task force has even been created between DG ENVI and SANCO in order to cover all aspects of the compliance.
EU Commission is satisfied of constant progress done by Member States these last months.
According to the task force, the major implementation difficulty concerns breeding of less than 99 sows.
More than this, EU Commission has really pressured a lot Member States not in compliance, and has repealed that infringement procedures will start up from 1.01.2013 for reluctant states. Preliminary work for the launch of these procedures has already been prepared.
 EU Commission does not intend to ask for an extra implementation delay” said Laurence Bonafos, from DG SANCO.
Background information
Pigs are protected in the EU since 1991 the old Council Directive 91/630/EEC on the welfare of pigs. In 2001, this Directive has been amended by the Commission Directive 2001/93/EC providing minimum standards for the breeding of pigs, such as ban of sow stalls.
These two texts have been merged into one in 2008 with the Council Directive 2008/120/EC.
After a 12 years transitional period, these requirements improving pig welfare and requiring group housing of sows are came into force from 1 January 2003 for all new buildings, and will become mandatory for all buildings from 1 January 2013.  Nonetheless, the ban is not relevant for breeding of less than 10 sows.

Please find below, the official minutes of the meeting prepared by EU Commission, the Agenda and the Presentations (presentations are behind links in the Agenda).