ANALYSIS – Last week, the global egg industry gathered in Lisbon for the IEC Business Meeting. Experts from different regions discussed the hot topics for the international egg industry and its chairman, César de Anda, introduced the new World Egg Organisation. By Nuria Martínez Herráez, ThePoultrySite editor.
Lisbon welcomed the egg industry members from 12th April to 14th April by hosting the first of the two annual meetings that the International Egg Commission (IEC) celebrates every year.
The meeting, which was officially opened by the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Ms Assunçao Cristas, addressed different topics affecting the global egg industry and allowed the IEC members to celebrate different workshops to set the actions to be followed in the next six months.
Which Is the Most Sustainable Housing System?
Dr Joy Mench, University of California-Davis (USA), presented the findings from the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply project to the audience. This project assessed different aspects involved in sustainability for three layer housing systems: conventional cages, cage-free aviaries and enriched cages.
The assessed aspects were environmental impact, food safety, worker safety, animal health and well-being and food affordability.
Findings and conclusions vary depending on the assessed factor. For instance, aviaries were found to have the highest operating and capital costs per dozen eggs whereas no differences were found in egg quality measures (food safety) over a 12-week storage period.
Avian Influenza: the Never-Ending Worry
Dr Christianne Bruschke, Chief Veterinary Officer at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands and her compatriot Eric Hubers, Ovoned chairman, discussed the Dutch protocol to beat avian influence, which is implemented in order to prevent the virus spreading when an outbreak is notified within the Dutch territory.
They addressed the 2014 outbreaks and took part in a Panel Discussion about avian influenza included under the Producer Workshop.
World Egg Organisation: New Brand Name for the IEC Products
The IEC has promoted several projects in its 50 years of life.
For example, the International Egg Foundation (IEF), an independent charity whose purpose is to increase egg production and egg consumption in the developing countries, or the International Egg Nutrition Consortium (IENC) was created to provide member countries with a vehicle for sharing health, nutrition, and research information and advice.
César de Anda, IEC Chairman, introduced the new brand name which will gather the different IEC products from now on: the World Egg Organisation. The aim of this “renaming” is to provide them with a “high-level name when they communicate with international entities such as FAO, the OIE, the World Bank, etc.”
What’s Coming: Beak Trimming Ban
Mark Williams, Chief Executive Officer at British Egg Industry Council (UK), presented the different beat trimming systems and how they evolved until Infra-Red Beak Trimming (IRBT).
According to Dr Williams, the debate about banning this practice is a geographical question in the EU, where Northern and Scandinavian countries have either banned it or are considering banning it, whereas Southern-eastern countries are not even discussing it.
He also highlighted no major egg producing countries outside the EU has even posed the question as most of poultry producers are united in believing that beak trimming is better for the well-being of the birds.
Male Layer Chicks: Is There a “Solution”?
The Dutch experts, Frans van Sambeek, R&D Director at Hendrix, and Peter van Horne, IEC Economic Analyst, addressed the question about what to do with the male layer chicks, a topic that is recurrent in the egg industry meetings.
Nowadays, these birds are culled after hatch. However, this practice poses an “ethical problem” in some areas and the poultry industry is working on potential solutions, such as dual purpose birds, combi-chickens or embryo sexing, among others.
Both experts concluded there is currently no best solution to this problem. Dr Van Sambeek added that a combination of the different solutions could be the best case scenario but the market will lead this.