Friday, 27 January 2012

Brussels has announced the opening of disciplinary proceedings against Spain for failing to meet EU conditions for battery hens.

 

 It means the country now has only two month to correct conditions. About a third of Spanish egg production does not meet the latest regulations, despite the fact that the country, along with the rest of the EU, had more than ten years to adapt to the year 2,000 directive. In Spain there are 720 battery hen farms which hold 43.5 million battery hens. Failure to meet the regulations can imply distortions in the market and unfair competition. Spain is second placed in a list of 13 countries which have work to do, with Italy at the top of the table. It’s estimated that 50% of the birds cages are now in the required condition, and last week the new Agriculture Minister, Miguel Arias Cañete, said Spain was on the road to compliance and asked for ‘certain flexibility’ from Brussels. Each hen has to have 750 square centimetres, have a nesting area, and also facilities to cut their claws. Brussels says that across the EU there are 51 million hens do not have cages in condition. If Spain fails to correct matters in two months, Brussels may grant another two month period, but if that fails the case will go before the European Court of Justice.

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