16 November 2001


uMILLIONS of ks from the EUs annual k90bn (£55bn) budget have gone missing, according to the annual Court of Auditors report. Despite efforts to tighten up on financial controls since the new EU commission took over two years ago, the track record for agriculture has not improved. Most errors are bureaucratic, rather than the result of fraud.

uEURO-MPs meeting in Strasbourg this week called for a radical overhaul of the live animal trade. In particular they are demanding a maximum eight-hour journey time to slaughter or a maximum distance of 500km, an end to export subsidies for live shipments and new aids for small slaughterhouses in isolated areas. Formal EU proposals are due next year.

uBRUSSELS has approved new rules for intensive pigs throughout the EU, to take effect from Jan 1, 2003. These include a minimum weaning age of four weeks, a maximum noise level of 85 decibels in pig houses and minimum lighting of 40 lux for eight hours/day. Fresh water must be constantly available and the worst forms of castration will be banned.

uIRISH farm leaders have been restrained by the High Court in Dublin from encouraging farmers to withhold sugar beet from Irish Sugar factories. The suspension of deliveries resulted in the closure of one factory last weekend. Former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, has offered to mediate in the ongoing price dispute. &#42

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