Farms minister Jim Paice pledged yesterday to press the European Commission on how it intends to police the 2013 partial stalls ban. In particular he will alert Brussels to the problem of pork from illegal farms being traded freely across borders and undermining pig farms that have higher production costs as a result of converting to loose housing.
In particular he promised NPA (National Pig Association) and BPEX that he would ask the European Commission to identify and trace pigmeat from illegal farms - of which there are likely to be hundreds, probably thousands, when the partial stalls ban comes into force in January.
The pig industry delegation - Dr Zoe Davies, of NPA, Stewart Houston, of NPA and BPEX, and Mick Sloyan of BPEX - asked the minister to seek clarification over whether pork from non-compliant farms will itself be illegal.
Defra (Deparment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will also look to see if current government procurement standards will need to be amended to protect hospital patients, soldiers, policemen, MPs and others from being served 'illegal' low-welfare pork products.
Defra will also investigate whether there is scope to use legal measures to ban British companies from importing illegal meat on welfare grounds.
Zoe Davies said that Defra was keen to work collaboratively with the industry to ensure that they were in a strong position come January 1, 2013.
Source: National Pig Association