The European Union’s tightened animal-welfare regulations may derail its prosperous pork industry, Reuters reports. According to EU farming officials, the Union-wide ban on pig gestation crates, effective in 2013, could cause pig herd numbers to drop by as much as 10 percent. Officials predict that many farmers will have a hard time complying with the new rules, due to financial or geographical constraints, resulting in multiple farms shutting down operations. A 10 percent drop in pig numbers could have a serious impact on the pork industry: Pork prices could increase significantly as countries face pork shortages, and exports could diminish. The European Union is currently the second-largest pork exporter in the world.
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