40,000 pigs per hour expected in EU from illegally-run farms

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About 40,000 'illegal' pigs an hour will be entering the European food chain in January and bacon, ham and pizzas containing their meat is destined for Britain's supermarkets, corner shops and restaurants, according to Britain's National Pig Association (NPA).

The pigs will come from continental farms where sows are still confined in individual steel cages known as "stalls" — a practice outlawed by European Union animal welfare legislation from Jan. 1, 2013.

Stalls have not been used in the UK for many years, but figures released by Brussels this month show that with the continental ban only days away, 80 percent of European Union countries have not yet complied with the ban.

Even allowing for a last minute rush to remove sows from stalls and house them in new group pens, this indicates that nearly two million pigs a week from farms operating illegally will be delivered to Europe's processing plants, according to Britain's National Pig Association.

"It makes a mockery of Europe's animal welfare legislation," says NPA chairman Richard Longthorp. "As the United Kingdom imports around 60 percent of its pork — much of it as processed food such as ham and bacon — shoppers will need to be very careful about what they choose from supermarket shelves and when eating out in restaurants."

NPA is urging British shoppers who care about animal welfare not to buy imported pork or processed pork products such as bacon, until all European Union member countries have complied with the stalls ban.

"The major British supermarkets have promised they will not sell pork from continental farms operating illegally but our concern is that in many cases these farms will be difficult to identify and everybody admits that imported processed foods will be almost impossible to trace," said NPA general manager Dr. Zoe Davies.

"Our advice to shoppers is always to look for the independent Red Tractor logo on the pack, which is an absolute guarantee that the product comes from a British pig farm where keeping sows in stalls has been banned for over a decade."

The data published by Brussels this month shows France is only 33 percent compliant with the European stalls ban, Germany only 48 percent and Ireland only 57 percent. Other countries unable to hit the January 2013 deadline include Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

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NW Indiana  |  December, 26, 2012 at 09:55 AM

Solution: let the sows run free and put the food commies in the cages. The food commies will be less harmful in the cages.

Ohio  |  December, 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM

It's really great knowing that non-farming groups can tell educated farmers the best way to raise animals on a farm that they do not know how to operate themselves. Gratification comes from knowing the uneducated population have a place in making laws and enforcing laws that do not make business sense or have been shown to be cruel themselves. Heart warming to understand these same people govern countries and deal with minor problems like fiscal health and social programs. Time for reality check to learn what inportance is really all about. Do these people even know what a crate looks like and what open housing does to piglets? Don't think so!!!

kansas  |  December, 26, 2012 at 06:43 PM

So, "It makes a mockery of Europe's animal welfare legislation,"? About time! I've been mocking them all regularly ever since the smarmy, smarter-better-than-you Euros first prostrated themselves before the preening Animal Rights fascists. Especially nice to see that France, the ultra-socialists and ultimate defenders of many made-up rights, are the worst offenders on the list (or perhaps just lazy and broke?). Let us all have a great laugh at their expense, until it's our turn in 4-5 years. Since most of the spineless food distribution giants, in their P.C./P.R. wisdom, have bowed deeply before the gods of the environment, we'll all be sharing the pain and humiliation soon enough.

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