Doing the funky chicken

I’m a bit perplexed by the stories today about Viscountess Dilhorne, who was visited by Defra inspectors to look at her 29 laying hens for compliance with the EC Laying Hens Directive. Our Directive only applies if you have more than 350 hens, exactly to avoid this sort of thing. But these are minimum standards, and individual Member States can go further. I contacted Defra, but not having heard back, checked out the UK regulations myself, in case it was a classic case of “gold-plating”. And from what I can tell, they take the EU minimum of 350 hens. So why this lady had a visit from the Defra inspectors (and let’s be clear, all compliance, checks etc are done by the countries’ own services) is beyond me. But it certainly isn’t something required by the Directive.

7 comments on “Doing the funky chicken”:

  1. Hi, Antonia!

    A nice find! I think it’s this Directive here that you’re talking about.

    Very clearly:

    “2. This Directive shall not apply to:

    – establishments with fewer than 350 laying hens,”

    I might get in touch with defra myself…

  2. Antonia,
    So on this occasion the EU isn’t guilty or at least very guilty. It’s our bureaucratic zealots overimposing the regulations “your” bureaucrats set.
    What if your bureaucrats hadn’t set any regulations? There’s a thought. What if the EU left us to manage our own affairs? Fat chance. How on earth did we manage our chicken related regulation until the EU came along to set us straight?
    “All compliance…is done by the countries’ own services” Thank God for that! The unspoken ending seems to be…”for now”.

  3. Geoff, what happened without proper hygiene standards was that we had outbreaks of food poisoning that should have been avoided. Isn’t preventing people from falling sick a good thing to do?

  4. Richard,
    You miss the point – “proper hygiene standards” didn’t arrive with Common Market membership. (Been to France recently? Ever bought cheese from a bloke in a vest smoking a fag?)
    The UK was & is perfectly capable of managing this sort of thing without outside interference.

  5. But what about the hygiene standards of imported eggs? Common EU rules give us assurance: UK-only rules do not.

    (And before the British give lectures on food hygiene, they ought to realise that they were the people who gave BSE to the world.)

  6. Richard,
    Who says EU standards are better than UK ones? Anyway if you don’t trust imports don’t buy them. Read the label.
    Mad cow disease was known in Rome by the way.

  7. It’s not a question of having better standards, it is having the same standards so that consumers can be confident that they are protected. If you buy something made from eggs – a sandwich, for example – how can you possibly read the label on the box that the eggs came in? Let’s find practical ways to protect consumers.

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