Fourteen of the 27 EU Member States, representing 14% of EU's overall egg production, failed to meet the deadline when the ban on conventional battery cages came into force on January 1, according to NFU Scotland.

According to the European Commission’s latest figures, more than 46 million hens are still in illegal conventional cages across Europe.

“Despite having almost a decade to prepare, no fewer than 14 of our fellow Member States have failed to fully enforce the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive and will face legal proceedings in the coming weeks, according to the European Commission,” said NFUS pigs and poultry chairman Phil Sleigh. "Warnings and threats of fines from the Commission about the consequences of non-compliance have been largely ineffectual in encouraging many countries to convert conventional battery cages into enriched welfare-friendly cages on time." Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain have all failed to meet the conversion requirements.