EU plans for a partial ban on sow stalls that would go into effect on January 1, 2013, are already meeting challenges, with only 10 countries likely to be ready for the new rules and some not even able to provide statistics, according to the UK’s farm animal welfare body Compassion in World Farming.

The new law will ban the use of sow stalls for the majority of a sow’s pregnancy. Compassion in World Farming said it understood that the UK is expected to be joined in being fully compliant by Sweden, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Ireland, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, The Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The other 17 member states are still in varying stages of readiness, with Poland among the worst in terms of the number of farms (2,029) expected to be non-compliant when the law goes into effect.


“This should set alarm bells ringing at the [European] Commission and the 17 member states that are not going to comply with the ban," said Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming chief policy advisor. "They need to get hold of the situation very quickly to stop this important step for animal welfare becoming a farce. It’s unacceptable for so many countries to be behind schedule when they have known for a long time that these rules would be coming into force on January 1. They need to take action now, both for the welfare of millions of pigs and to create a fairer market for UK farmers.”

Stevenson said the Commission needs to make it very clear that there will be significant consequences if the non-compliant countries are still not in line by the time 2013 comes around.