Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

16 DEC 2010

Local MEP says dont break the British egg industry

Vicky Ford, Conservative MEP for the East of England will speak up for local egg farmers in a debate in the European Parliament today.

The European Commission announced plans to ban battery cages back in 1999 with the ban due to come into place in January 2012. The cost to UK egg farmers so far is esitmated to be £400 milllion in upfront investment to comply with the new rules which cover free range, barn and larger cages. However there is growing concern that certain other EU countries may not comply by the deadline. If the deadline is ignored or extended it will leave UK farmers open to an influx of cheaper, battery farmed eggs from overseas.

MEPs will today debate and vote on a resolution that calls for the ban on battery hens to be upheld and for non-compliant countries to urgently prepare action plans.

Vicky Ford MEP will say

"Like many British mums I want decent animal welfare standards and affordable eggs.

I am no poultry expert - my daughter's four attempts to keep pet chickens have fallen prey to the local fox. I do however trust our professionals - like Philip Wright, keeper of 30,000 happy and EU compliant hens that I visited on his farm in Moulton St Mary, Norfolk last month.

As the UK pig farming industry learnt to its great cost it is not financially viable to introduce higher animal welfare standards unilaterally.

The UK´s egg farmers put their confidence in the European commission by investing hundreds of millions of pounds getting ready for this new legislation. With public confidence in European Institutions at an all time low - now is not the time to play chicken with the egg industry."

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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.