Belgium breaks ranks on cage ban

While most EU nations have been pushing their egg farmers to convert to enriched cage production ahead of the 2012 conventional cage ban, including Spain and Italy which have large cage production capacity, Belgium has been one of the first nations to hint at a moratorium for farmers during the early days of the ban.

According to animal welfare lobby Eurogroup for Animals, the deputy prime minister of Belgium, Laurette Onkelinx, recently said in Parliament a six-month “period of grace” would be provided for egg producers after the introduction of the conventional cage ban in January 2012. .

Such an extension would be a breach of the European Directive, said Eurogroup for Animals, with the organisation saying producers already had 12 years to convert to become compliant with the law.

“We have called on the European Commission to ensure that Belgium is stopped and ordered to conform. Commissioner Dalli has repeatedly stated that there will be no postponement or exemption and yet member states are already ignoring the deadline and making up their own rules,” said Sonja Van Tichelen, director of Eurogroup for Animals.