Sow Stalls : Start of Infringement Procedures against 9 Member States


Brussels, 21 I 2013


On February 21 2013, during the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Commissioner Tonio Borg (DG SANCO) announced that EU Commission has started infringement procedures against 9 non-compliant States with the sow stall ban set up by Council Directive 2008/120/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs



Following the first step of the infringement procedure laid down by Article 288 of the Lisbon Treaty TFEU, a letter of formal notice has been sent to: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Portugal.

The sow stall ban enter into force in January 2013, after a twelve years transition period. Despite this long period, and EU rural fundings for changing the holding, only 11 Member States were estimated in full compliance for the deadline end of 2012 and in January 2013.

​Please find here the official press release of European Commission annoucing the opening of infringement procedure.


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.