EU to block Swedish egg law

An EU Commission has ruled that Sweden's law against battery hens, also known as Astrid Lindgren's law, is not valid. The commission now intends to use the European courts to force Sweden to drop the law.

“The EU commission has begun a legal process since they consider that Sweden has hindered free movement between member states,” said Martin Erling, the lawyer representing egg producers who want to get rid of the cages.

According to the commission, The Swedish Board of Agriculture, The Swedish Animal Welfare Agent and The National Food Administration have all violated EU laws.

When the Swedish law banning the cages was approved, there was only one company in Sweden that manufactured them. Foreign companies were prevented from selling their cages in Sweden.

Sweden has also, according to the commission, “neglected to fulfil her duties” in accordance with the 98/34/EG directive. Both objections apply to technical specifications of the EU-approved cages and how they are approved.

According to Sydsvenskan, the public authorities have encouraged municipal environmental boards to press charges against egg producers and shops that sold eggs that came from battery hens.

Professor in EU law, Carl Michael von Quitzow, has studied the complaints and answers from both sides. He told Sydsvenskan that the commission’s criticisms concern both the Swedish regulation and the way it was introduced.

“The commission starts such processes when they find a reason for it and their rate of victory is rather good,” said von Quitzow.

The Swedish government has two months to answer the commission’s objections.

Sources: Sydsvenskan