Important - please read this!
This work for this report was completed in March 1997. The data and facts presented were, to the best of our ability, correct at that time and represent the situation as we found it in 1996. Since 1996, the organic market has developed further, so that some of the market size and price data will already be out of date.
In addition, in May 1997, a new draft of the EU organic livestock regulation prepared by the Dutch Presidency was circulated for discussion. The European Parliament has also proposed several amendments to the original Commission document which features significantly in this report.
Key changes proposed in the Presidency document include permission to use synthetic amino acids and fishmeal as ingredients in poultry rations, which removes some of the most significant constraints identified in Section 3.4 of this report, and reduce some of the likely financial implications discussed in Section 5. However, the proposed stocking rate limits effectively remain, although this can be ameliorated through the formation of partnerships between organic poultry producers and other organic (arable/horticultural) producers to redistribute manures. The Parliament’s response places strong emphasis on prohibition of GMO-derived feeds, thus reducing the suitability of conventionally produced soya and maize for organic production.
The regulation is still very much in the consultation phase and further significant changes are likely. Those made so far could also be reversed. Interested parties are therefore urged to maintain contact with UKROFS (see Section 7.1.1 for address) for updates on the Regulation and implications for UKROFS and other UK standards.
Readers' attention is also drawn to the recent Farm Animal Welfare Council July 1997 report on the ‘Welfare of Laying Hens’. This addresses some of the key issues raised in this report and is likely to have a significant influence on the future development of barn and free-range egg production in the UK. The report is available from FAWC, Government Buildings, Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 7NF.
While we have done our utmost to ensure that errors in this report have been kept to a minimum, it is inevitable given the nature of this study that there will still be some, for which we take full responsibility and would welcome any feedback.
Aberystwyth, September 1997