Editorial – World Meat Congress Tackled Challenging Issues
The global protein market is in a state of structural change. The world is no longer one of structural surpluses, it is a world of structural scarcity, according to David Nelson, a global strategist with Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group. He was addressing the World Meat Congress in Paris last week.
At the same meeting, the industry was warned about possible unintended consequences of change. Former congressman, Charlie Stenholm, said that the complete decline of the horse slaughter industry and the closure of slaughterhouses for horses led by animal rights activists have had severe implications for animal welfare and for the entire horse industry in the US.
He warned that other sectors in the meat industry are also at risk from activists demanding changes to welfare conditions, which he described as “the unintended consequences”.
A new report has identified potential benefits to the UK meat industry to the tune of around £40 million per annum. The report, prepared for the Royal Agricultural College and entitled A Creative Study Into the Scope for Increasing Value from Fallen Livestock and Animal By-products was presented by Stewart Houston this week. The benefits and value accrue as the result of reduced mortalities as well as better handling, storage and transport of carcasses and improved marketing of the by-products to achieve higher prices.
The UK’s Harper Adams University College hosted the 2012 Temperton Fellowship Research Report presentation this week by Stephen Lister, a specialist poultry veterinarian and co-founder of Crowshall Veterinary Services. His report was entitled ‘Poultry in the Public Eye – The Consumer:Industry Interface’.
The report examines the dramatic development of the poultry industry over the last 50 years, the power of the consumer to influence farm animal welfare, the contrast between consumers’ stated intentions and actual buying behaviour, barriers to consumption of high-welfare products and the need for greater education and knowledge transfer to consumers.
Also in the news, the Ministry of Agriculture and Embrapa say that Brazil will increase meat production by 10.9 million tonnes or more than 43 per cent over the next 10 years. Chicken is expected to have the highest rate of growth in production between 2011/2012 to 2021/2022, with an annual growth projected to be 4.2 per cent.
Brazilian egg exports fetched revenues of US$19.6 million in the first five months of 2012, an increase of nearly 60 per cent compared with the same period of last year.
Finally, turning to bird flu news, a new report has been published, assessing the potential of live bird markets to act as reservoirs for the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus.
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