South African pig farmers are asking for an extension of the latest 2016 deadline to improve the living conditions of their animals, saying that 2020 is a more realistic date to work towards.
The original deadline for compliance, by which time farmers were expected to incorporate things like larger individual pens for housing sows, was 2011. Farmers have said they are concerned that their product will be less competitive internationally due to the increased cost of implementing changes, and that small and emerging farmers may be forced out of the market. "Farmers should not be disadvantaged by the changing rules because of the significant investment they are expected to make to change the conditions of their livestock," said South African Pork Producers' Organisation veterinary liaison officer Dr. Peter Evans.
The National Council of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has said the revised target date is on par with other parts of the world. The European Union will be phasing out the practice of confined spaces next year, New Zealand by 2015 and Australia and Tasmania by 2017, "so our target is within international norms," said Celeste Houseman, manager of the NSPCA's farm animal unit.