GERMANY - Gerhard Wagner [pictured], President of the European Poultry Club opened the International Poultry Conference prior to the EuroTier show in Hanover yesterday, saying that "animal welfare" is understood in many difference ways across the world.
With a record number of 400 people registered to attend, the International Poultry Conference organised by the Central Association of Germans Poultry Producers (ZDG), the European Poultry Club (EPC) and the German Agricultural Society (DLG) attracted much attention with its title 'Animal welfare - Europe, a continent of different speeds'.
The keynote address was given by Peter van Horne of the LEI at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He presented the results of two studies and one update on the competitiveness of the European chicken meat and egg sectors.
The poultry meat sector in the European Union was worth €32 billion in 2012, he said, and employed more than 300,000 people.
Compared to other countries, the industry is highly regulated in the areas of environment, food safety and animal welfare, which raises production costs in the EU on farm and at slaughter.
Currently, quotas and levies protect the EU poultry meat industry from large volumes of imports but free trade agreements are likely to offer more greater market access and lower import levies to other countries in future, while legislation for EU producers will increase further.
Mr van Horne said that the situation for the egg market is similar, with production costs higher in the EU than in third countries. Furthermore, some of the Community's member states set additional national regulations.
The ban on battery cages in the EU that came into force in January 2012 is estimated to have contributed to an estimated 15 per cent to production costs.
As with the poultry meat sector, import levies currently protect the EU from large volumes of imports of eggs and egg products.
Three further presentation at the International Poultry Day examined the competitiveness of the EU egg and poultry meat sector by country.
From AVI NED in the Netherlands, Ben Dallaert discussed 'Tomorrow’s chicken – How to meet the animal welfare challenge in the Netherlands', when he focused particularly in the industry's approach to meeting the demands of a very powerful animal welfare lobby.
'Sustainable intensification for the health and well-being of poultry' was addressed by Philip Wilkinson of 2 Sisters Food Group in the UK. He examined the challenges and opportunities for the global food industry looking ahead to 2050.
Last but not least, Lukasz Dominiak of the National Poultry Council of Poland (KRD-IG) outlined the key features of the poultry industry in his country and what his organisation is doing to promote Polish chicken, turkey and duck meat exports to other countries.