The NFU, NPA and stakeholders across the industry are urging the European Commission to extend two derogations for organic pig and poultry which are coming to an end on December 31, 2017.
Farmers are currently allowed to feed their pig and poultry up to five per cent non-organic protein. They are also allowed to buy in pullets up to 18 weeks old, provided they have been managed under the organic feed and veterinary standard.
Without Commission intervention, these derogations will revert back to original regulation, which requires a 100 per cent organic diet.
NFU deputy president Minette Batters said this will not only have severe consequences to the organic sector, such as being unable to source the right nutrition, but will be a major welfare concern for young birds who are extremely vulnerable to predators.
Ms Batters said: “It is vital for the organic poultry sector that an extension to these derogations is granted as soon as possible. Producers are planning now for 2018 and currently have no certainty whether these derogations will be in place.
“Organic producers would like nothing more than to use 100 per cent organic feed but they don’t want to do this at the expense of their animals’ health and welfare, which is why an extension is so important.”