Representatives of the NFU, the Ulster Farmers’ Association, NFU Cymru and NFU Scotland met in late September to discuss the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive, which will become law on Jan. 1, 2012.  

First on the agenda was the likely non-compliance of producers in some other European countries, and the unions have agreed to join forces to come up with a plan to help prevent illegal eggs from entering the UK and the food chain. British farmers have spent an estimated GBP400 million (US$625.5 million) to meet the rules, but according to reports farmers in several European Member States may miss the January 2012 deadline. According to figures from the European Commission, more than 11 million hens will still be housed in un-enriched cages when the EU ban comes into force.