A European Commission suggestion for stocking densities levels for broilers across the block resulted in a heated debated between European Union agriculture ministers.
Stocking densities, (how many birds are packed into a specific area), vary widely across the 25-nation block, with an average 40kg of bird weight per square metre.
However, a Commission suggestion of 30kg as a base standard but with leeway for intensive rearing operations to increase this to 38kg, providing welfare standards are met, sparked a heated debate.
The EU states that endorsed the move included Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden. However Italy and Greece wanted higher base densities.
According to Commission officials the extra cost to broiler farmers due to its animal welfare proposals would be minimal, between 0.025 euros and 0.035 euros per bird, whose overall cost at farm level was around €2.
The discussion will be picked up under the Finnish presidency rotation, which starts July 1st.