October 3, 2003



Malta Steps Up Poultry Restructuring To EU Standards


That the EU's accords great importance to animal welfare does not simply end with animal protection but also to safeguard public confidence in food production.


Malta, a country in the continent pending EU membership, has requested a three-year transitional period for the implementation of EU standards on the protection of laying hens that are kept in battery cages. This involves some 290,000 hens in 30 establishments. Doing so ensures that poultry farms in Malta can have enough time to restructure and control the stock density of hens.


Malta's request has been accepted by the EU and the country has agreed to a transitional period until the end of 2006 for minor construction elements (height and floor slope only), covering only those existing cages in 12 of the listed establishments which have a minimum height of 36cm over 65 per cent of the cage area and elsewhere at least 33cm and floor slope not greater than 16 per cent.