New EU Organic Regulation: Large henhouses still possible
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The EU Commission and the Member States are currently working on the detailed regulations still missing in the new EU Organic Regulation. At the last meeting of the Committee on Organic Production at the end of September, the Commission showed the present results of the discussion on the rules for poultry farming. The presentation is present to organic-market.info.
30,000 organic hens in one barn - still possible
It should be defined more clearly than before that a barn may consist of several barn compartments in which a herd is housed. For laying hens, compartments separated by a visual and flutter protection are said to be sufficient, for fattening hens, the compartments have to be separated completely. The new regulation stipulates that the outlet must only be 150 metres long, which corresponds to the position of the organic associations and would automatically limit the number of laying hens in a building to 12,000. However, the bill states that 350 metres should also be permitted if sufficient protection is provided by shelters, bushes or trees. If this remains the case, in practice it would mean that it would continue to be possible to keep 30,000 or more organic hens in a stable surrounded by long, tubular runs.
A maximum of three floors allowed for aviaries
In addition, the presentation goes into much more detail on individual husbandry conditions and fills gaps in the previous regulation, which did not have its own regulations for young or parent animals. The numbers of young animals will be increased and the areas available for exercise reduced, as they require less space than the larger ones. In future, herds of up to 10,000 will be allowed for young chickens up to 18 weeks as well as for young fattened chickens. The run-out area will be reduced to one to two square metres per animal. The space on the perches will also be adapted to the size.
Daily exercise should be given to young animals as early as possible if the physical condition of the animals permits. However, the Commission is keeping a backdoor open for parent and young hens under 18 weeks of age by referring to other EU requirements to protect human and animal health. In such cases, winter gardens should be counted as open-air runs for these animals. Otherwise, conservatories should remain a voluntary option and not be made compulsory. The Commission takes one step forward as it wants to limit the number of floors for aviaries to three (including bottom), compared to previously four possible floors.