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Future Animal Care Rules: Lessons from the 2013 EU Animal Care Study Tour.

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Presentation on theme: "Future Animal Care Rules: Lessons from the 2013 EU Animal Care Study Tour."— Presentation transcript:

1 Future Animal Care Rules: Lessons from the 2013 EU Animal Care Study Tour

2 Overview Participants Countries Visits Take-Aways Conclusions Recommendations Questions


4 Countries England France Belgium Holland Germany Denmark

5 Visits Cattle: England and Belgium Dairy:England Diversified: England and Belgium Hog:England, France, Holland & Denmark Layer: England, Belgium, Holland & Denmark Farm Groups: ALL Government: ALL (U.S. and EU officials)

6 Animal Welfare “(…) means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.(…)” (World Animal Health definition, adopted by 172 members, May 2008)

7 1973 UK Joins EU 1974 1st AW EU Legislation 1986 BSE Identified 1993 Single Market 1998 Food & Veterinary Office 1999 EC Protocol 2000 White Paper on Food Safety 2002 EFSA 2009 Lisbon Treaty Transport Stunning & Killing Laying Hens Pigs & Calves on farm General Directive Action Plan Broilers Animal Welfare Strategy Timeline: EU Animal Care Source: EU Commission


9 Mitchell Farms Coventry, England

10 Mitchell Farms, Coventry, England

11 Dairy Visits

12 Take-Aways Cattle  Animal ID in place and EU farmers strong advocates for appreciated especially for management passports and written record for every movement absolutely necessary for other animal regulations in EU  Tail docking and dehorning banned  Antibiotics restricted and tracked  Siting/expanding as tough as in U.S.  Farmers know their retail outlet for meat  Beef is expensive in EU: Opportunities for U.S.  Heritage and geographical indicators will be important considerations in trade agreements will allow EU to pursue what we would consider unacceptable practices

13 Belgian Blue

14 Morgan “Sainsbury Concept” Farm England Ley Farms France Ley Farm France

15 Douma Farm Holland Jorgensen Farm Denmark

16 Douma Farm Holland

17 Take-Aways Sow Housing  Each country and farm dealt with 1/1/13 Stall Ban in its own way England in group housing “scheme” since 1999, lost the most money and market share to competition and imports, some farmers retired or sold out French farmers received 200 Euros per animal (actual cost 1,000 Euros per) Dutch and Belgian farmers did not receive support  Other provisions of the EU directive: slot width, minimum pen length, and enrichment “toys” can’t tail dock or clip/grind needle teeth pre-directive limits on antibiotic use  Sainsbury “Concept” farm most welfare friendly only operation we saw using significant straw required more labor, space, waste handling (much labor required)  All sows had more injuries and were dirtier than our sows

18 Sunrise Eggs - England Rondeel - Holland

19 Take-Aways Layer Cages  England: 45% enriched, 45% free-range, 5% barn, and 5% are organic or specialty Farmers have had success with enriched colony organic was growing, but now free range/organic premium minimal had egg shortage for a time but now production back up Top official quality control is the Red Lion consumers not happy with enriched colony and pressing for free range  Holland : Rondeel franchise designed with consumer input (draw image of layer facility) Only four such facilities in Holland Cost to produce eggs is 3 times more than enriched colony Several California farmers considering (system requires mild weather)  Denmark: More barns and aviaries than England Cage egg farmers produce the most eggs and have lowest mortality Chicken grinders visit farms to dispose of birds – mink feed

20 Labels Labels Labels

21 Take-Aways Antibiotic Use EU antibiotic use restricted: Sub-therapeutic and growth promoting use banned in much of EU in mid 1990s. The decline in total antibiotic use after the ban turned into a gradual increase in total antibiotic use over the past decade (not to prior levels). Some EU nations (Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Holland) use significantly more antibiotics than Denmark, which is one of the lowest users. Per kg of meat, Danish hog farmers use 1/5 the antibiotics as U.S. farmers. A Danish farmer using too many antibiotics gets a “yellow” card. He and his vet then work to clear his name/record (which is also on the web). Penalties are very expensive for mis-use of antibiotics in the EU. Not sure how the system pays for all of the additional paperwork, audits, tests, personnel, etc. U.S. farmers need better numbers on antibiotic use is (by class, species, time period, farm size, etc.) to combat attacks against its use, and to “do better”.

22 General Take-Aways  As occurs here, many EU animal welfare decisions driven by marketing  Group housing (sows) and round barns (hens) are selling points to make consumers feel better about their meat and egg purchases  Banning or highly regulating antibiotic use gives consumers a false sense of security  EU farmers have adapted to multiple regulations/bans  Say they “wouldn’t go back” to old ways  Farmers in one country try to one-up their competitors in other countries  Costs increased so farmers now seeking new efficiencies  Nations not on same playing field (northern EU yes, southern EU no)  Legislation caused production shifts (genetics in north, finishing in Germany or south)  Despite high up front costs, most farmers finding their way to profitability  Unintended consequences of EU regulations  Larger operations in order to spread increased costs across more animals  Greater concentration in livestock industries as production shifts and specialization occurs  Increased (visible) injuries to sows and shortened lives of piglets  Demands of consumers and activist groups not decreasing


24 Waitrose London

25 Conclusions Many EU regulations are impractical outside of that climatic region: Open air barns would not protect animals during U.S. weather extremes U.S. straw production cannot support Minnesota’s let alone U.S. sow production EPA/consumers would not allow piles of “muck” in fields and next to waterways/ditches Increased animal care or other production regulations: increase size of farms and level of concentration in the industry decrease farmer competiveness and disrupt the sector leading to: Potential loss of income, jobs, and tax revenues Probable increase of imports of meat from countries with weaker regulations EU consumers don’t understand labeling scheme details, but do respond to housing, treatment, and other labels. US farmers will see the same regulations introduced here: Greater transparency in agriculture will help avoid unsubstantiated mandates Open dialogue regarding good agricultural practices will help win consumer trust Need to continue to spread balanced and accurate information Demonstrate willingness to listen and continuous improvement U.S. farmers need to stay united and not allow animal care that is not better for animal

26 Questions Thank you!

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