Real happiness is a pig in a toy shop (The Times, 29 January 2003, page 1)
Farmers throughout the country have 90 days to put a toy in every pigsty or face up to three months in jail. The new ruling from Brussels, which is to become law in Britain next week, is to keep pigs happy and prevent them chewing each other.
Under EU law pigs must be given ‘manipulable material’ to fulfil an important behavioural need. Examples of such materials given under the directive are straw, hay, and compost – there is no requirement for pigs to be given toys!
Inspections and penalties for non-compliance of legislation are the responsibility of the Member State. In the UK, the Horticulture Marketing Inspectorate is in charge of inspections. Produce inspected that does not conform to legislation is either regraded (if possible) or withdrawn from sale.
It should not be forgotten that all these norms have been demanded and requested for years by the industry and by the retailers. The Commission will continue to monitor this area for potential problems, but has no evidence that current EU standards are affecting the marketing of organic produce.