The last Annual Report for the Branch referred to the increasing number of consultation documents from DEFRA and other official bodies with which we are now dealing. In 2002 alone we received consultations from DEFRA on:
- Possible Ban on the Use of Enriched Cages for Laying Hens in England
- Business Process Review on the work of FAWC
- Proposal for an EU Directive on Minimum Standards for the Protection of Meat Chickens
- Preparing an Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain
- Proposed Strategy for Enhancing Veterinary Surveillance in the UK
- FAWC Welfare of Animals at Livestock Markets – Extension of Consultation.
It is always pleasing when the UK poultry industry can stand together and lobby Government to let common sense prevail, and it is even more pleasing to be able to report a successful outcome. On the issue of the possible ban on the use of enriched cages in advance of the next review of the EU Council Directive, due for implementation in 2012, DEFRA recently announced that these will now continue to be allowed in England, with the other UK countries expected to follow suit. As a result of thoughtful consultation responses based on good science, together with sustained industry lobbying, the battle has been won, if not yet the war.
Another recent UK victory on the economic front and in which, therefore, it has to be said that WPSA did not play a part, was over the way in which meat hygiene inspection charges are levied. Hard won battles for charging on a headage basis looked likely to be overthrown by the European Commission, with potentially devastating effects on the small and medium sized poultry processor. Once again, sustained lobbying by the industry, this time together with DEFRA and the FSA, has resulted in very fundamental and beneficial modifications to Article 27.
Lobbying really does pay!