Coop Alliance: 'Poultry and pork production at risk
Farmers challenge EU emissions directive and new animal welfare legislation
20, May 2023
More gradual times, economic support, technologies for the green transition. This is what Graziano Salsi, coordinator of the Zootechnical Sector of Alleanza Cooperative, asks at the end of the Coordination meeting with the associated cooperatives, to ensure that "the zootechnical sector does not suffer heavy economic losses to adapt to the new regulations of the European Commission foreseen to reach the ambitious goals set by Europe".
In particular, the reference is to the new directive on industrial emissions, to the new legislation on animal welfare, which should be launched by the Commission next autumn, and the theme of the "End of Cage Age" which provides for a ban on cages in the near future on the pig and laying hens sectors.
"The ban on the use of cages for the pig sector will require EU companies to adapt to the new rules considerable investments, estimated at 3.2 billion, with a deterioration in production efficiency that would amount to up to 23.6%", continues Salsi . Also "the poultry sector will have significant impacts and huge investments will be needed when the new legislation on animal welfare will be defined. As regards the "end of cage", costs are estimated to be between 2.1 and 3.5 billion euros decrease in the number of laying hens estimated at between 330 and 379 million".
As Salsi explains, "it has been estimated that some EFSA indications (see EFA News, ed), regarding the scientific opinion on the welfare of broiler chickens which recommend a reduction in the density of chicken rearing, would lead to a 72% decrease in reared animals. And a consequent analogous loss of available chicken meat. As a consequence of this, an inevitable significant increase in the price of poultry meat for final consumers. So much so as to exclude entire segments of the population from accessing the noble proteins of chicken meat" .
The drop in production in the pig and poultry sectors would have the effect of "a strong impact on the trade balance of the EU, we would see a sharp increase in imports, a devastating reduction in the income of farmers: it is estimated - 37.8% for breeders in the pig sector if cages were abolished today".
If the EU provisions are looked at from an environmental point of view, the abolition of cages would have little impact on the reduction of global warming as the decrease in production in the EU would be compensated by the increase in production in third countries. This is the finding of impact assessment studies commissioned by Copa Cogeca to three Institutes, one German, one Polish and one Hungarian.
"We are willing to think about the right issues of animal welfare", concludes Salsi. "But with due balance to avoid that the consequent production decline projected by the studies puts entire supply chains in crisis starting from those of the PDOs, which have been able to give income to farmers. And to the territory, contributing to the great growth in exports Italian in the world. The objectives of food safety risk being jeopardized by the reduction in production that will be induced by excessively restrictive regulations".