Fourteen EU member states have failed to fully enforce the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive and will face legal proceedings in the coming weeks, according to the European Commission.
Member states have been warned about the consequences of non-compliance. In a letter to ministers in November the EU Health and Consumer Commissioner, John Dalli, said infringement proceedings would be launched against any country that failed to meet the January 1 deadline to convert conventional battery cages into enriched welfare-friendly cages.
That deadline has now passed, but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain have all failed to make the grade.
EU inspection teams are now visiting to collect evidence of non-compliance to back up legal action and subsequent fines. According to the Commission’s latest figures, more than 46.7 million hens are still in conventional cages across Europe, representing 14% of the industry.