Local Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder has today called for tough action against egg producers who fail to phase out battery cages.
Battery hens spend their short lives crammed into small wire cages and are allowed less than the space of an A4 sheet of paper.
The legal deadline set by the European Commission for phasing out battery cages is 1st January 2012. Today, MEPs voted to stop attempts by some member states to extend this deadline. MEPs also called for Member States that complied with the legislation to be able to ban imports form others who are producing eggs illegally.
Catherine Bearder commented:
"Animal welfare standards in the UK are much higher than in many other EU countries, but until the entire EU meets the standards we've all agreed to British farmers will be at a competitive disadvantage for taking an important moral stand."
"Agriculture is a huge part of life here in South East and I want to make sure our farmers are rewarded for high welfare standards, not punished at the marketplace."
"In the UK, egg producers have invested millions to meet demand from consumers for better animal welfare standards."
"It is outrageous that some EU Member States have made so little progress towards phasing out cruel battery cages.
"European egg producers have had 10 years to make the transition to the new standards. There is no excuse for extending the deadline.