Eighteen EU member states have announced that they will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by the time the new regulations come in to force on Jan. 1, 2013.

Sow stalls have been illegal in Britain since 1999, but they will not be outlawed in the rest of the EU until the 2013 deadline. The UK has been pressing the European Commission to make sure that the ban is enforced across the EU, ensuring a fairer environment for British pig farmers to compete in. “I promised to push the Commission to be as robust as possible and I welcome the approach they and other member states are taking to improve and enforce welfare standards across Europe," said Britain’s Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice. “It’s a pity that not everyone is going to be compliant by the deadline, but from the perspective of the UK pig industry, all of our main competitors will be.”

The 18 countries are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In addition, 95 percent of Austrian holdings are expected to be compliant by the deadline, 93 percent of Finnish holdings, 93 percent of Greek holdings, 94 percent of Polish holdings and 95 percent of Slovenian holdings.