GLOBAL - There was a growing presence of international exhibitors and visitors at the EuroTier trade show in Hanover, Germany, this week. Although some exhibitors from the poultry sector were absent this time, a poultry conference was arranged, which looked at the different views of bird welfare across European countries. In an unfortunate coincidence, a new form of the avian flu virus caused the destruction of a turkey flock in northern Germany last week.
Almost half the exhibitors at this year’s EuroTier, which opened this week in Hanover, Germany, come from outside of the country.
While many are companies from traditional European areas, with 186 from the Netherlands and 136 from France there is also a strong representation from China with 116 exhibitors.
Exhibition organisers, DLG, said that the strong international representation indicates the growing globalisation of the agricultural sector.
DLG said that faced with more stringent legal, economic and social conditions, farmers must more than ever carry out intelligent and long-term investment planning.
“It is precisely when the social and market environment is most difficult that a company’s potential needs to be exploited by investing efficiently and acting intelligently,” said DLG.
The German agricultural organisation said that with more and more legal directives driving the direction of agriculture, farmers are facing competition not over land or animal housing capacity, but over technology.
New ways to control emissions and manage the environment are driving the technological advances, said DLG, and it has called for animal welfare issues to be discussed and conducted on an international level.
Some of these burning issues were addressed at the International Poultry Conference, which was held in Hanover on the day before EuroTier opened.
Gerhard Wagner, President of the European Poultry Club opened the Conference, saying that 'animal welfare' is understood in many difference ways across the world.
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, revealed Dr van Horne, 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.
Other speakers at the Conference explained the animal welfare situation in the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Also in the news in the last week has been the first reported detection of the H5N8 subtype of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (A) virus in poultry in Europe. It was confirmed at a turkey farm in northern Germany, where it killed 1,880 of the birds. The rest of the flock has been destroyed and a range of measures has been introduced to control the spread of the virus.
In the United States, concerns have been raised over possible food safety risks following an announcement last this week that the American authorities have named the first Chinese poultry plants that can export US-reared chicken back to the country after processing.
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