NFU poultry board member Charles Bourns has been elected chairman of the EU Commission’s influential poultry advisory group.
Mr Bourns said it was an honour to be elected on to the advisory group, which brings together stakeholders from across Europe to advise the commission on issues affecting the industry.
His priority will now be the fight to ensure that Europe’s poultry farmers are major players on the world market.
“The EU is home to one of the most highly regulated and welfare-friendly poultry industries in the world. For example, over the past two years, Europe has introduced new welfare regulation on broilers and laying hens,” said Mr Bourns.
“But the transition has come at a huge cost to the industry. The welfare of laying hens directive alone cost UK egg producers more than £400m to comply.
“We now have to recoup that cost. We need to get into a position where our producers are leading players in the marketplace. We need to make sure consumers recognise our high standards, both in Europe and beyond, and seek out our products. We also need to ensure poultry products imported into the EU are properly labelled so consumers can choose higher welfare products if they wish.
“High feed prices are another problem facing poultry producers throughout Europe and I will be urging the commission to do all that it can to relieve the pressure. For example, it could ease the flow of feed shipments from North and South America by speeding up approvals on GM feed.”