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Scotland aims to protect egg producers

Eggs produced from chickens kept in inferior conditions should be banned to protect the Scottish industry from cheap imports, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead has said.

Lochhead demands that a ban is imposed on exports of eggs from countries which fail to adhere to strict European welfare rules on battery cages, due to come into force in 2012.

The move follows concerns by the Scottish industry that some member states may fail to meet the deadline set in 1999 and that an extension to implement the new rules may be granted. This would put Scottish producers at a competitive disadvantage following considerable investment by the industry in replacing barren cages with new enriched cages or changing to the barn or free range systems.

Speaking from the European Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels, Lochhead said, "The Scottish egg industry has invested considerable sums converting their systems to ensure we meet the strictest possible welfare standards.

"Some member states are claiming that, despite having had more than a decade to comply, they will not be able to make the changes needed in time. If these states are granted an extension at the 11th hour it could place our industry at a serious competitive disadvantage. A ban on exports from non-compliant member states would be essential."

The Commission has requested that member states report on progress made by their respective industries in complying with the legislation by April.

See also: EU ministers fight to avoid battery cage delay

Editor WorldPoultry

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