Welcome to our monthly rundown of the most relevant agriculture and food production issues with the most important Internet posts.
News from around the globe
We wish a happy New Year to all our readers and welcome you to our first roundup of news on agriculture in 2021.
What can we expect from the next 12 months after Covid 19 outbreaks linked to meat factories, live export disasters and increasingly strong relations between meat and Amazon deforestation last year? After multiple outbreaks of avian flu, three million birds were reportedly slaughtered in Japan.
In Europe, outbreaks of avian flu have occurred in poultry in the Netherlands, Poland and France, while in the UK, outbreaks of avian flu have occurred. To avoid further outbreaks of avian flu in the commercial poultry industry, all birds have been ordered to be kept indoors – Northern Ireland has recently seen its first outbreak in a commercial flock since 1998. The pig industry in Germany, the largest in the EU, has been hit hard by African swine fever (ASF) cases of deadly swine disease in wild boars, leading China to respond by banning imports of pork from Germany. The Schwarz Company, which owns the supermarket chains Lidl and Kaufland, announced that it would contribute EUR 50 million (£ 45 million) into an animal protection fund funded by the government to support farmers affected by ASF and coronavirus.
With the construction of the world’s largest pig farm in Henan province in central China, China has accelerated its recovery from its own ASF outbreaks – which have destroyed most of its industry since 2018. The farm plans to produce more than 2 million pigs a year and can hold up to 80,000 animals at a time. In the meantime, following reports of a restriction on pigs aboard U.S. airline cabins, it seems that pigs can not really fly. As emotional support for travelers, the animals are carried, but the pork industry said all U.S. pork exports might be banned if a pig tested positive for ASF.U.S. After allegedly taking bets about how many jobs will get Covid-19, meat giant Tyson Foods laid off seven employees.
When hundreds of workers became ill during the epidemic, according to claims in a complaint against one of the largest meat producers in the United States, managers and supervisors at a pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, took bets about how many of their staff would contract the virus. Tyson Foods said, “We were very upset to learn of the behaviors involved in the allegations, as we expect our leaders to treat all team members with the highest level of respect and integrity. ” After a recent decision to lift a ban on U.S. imports of pork and beef, parliamentarians in Taiwan hurled pig intestines at each other. The ban was on pork products containing residues of ractopamine, a feed additive that is used by some U.S. farmers to encourage lean meat, but is forbidden in Europe and China.
After Denmark was forced to dig up and burn millions of culled mink to avoid groundwater pollution, the ongoing drama over coronavirus cases in mink took another turn last month.
Denmark, the world’s largest exporter of mink fur, announced that it will kill up to 15 million animals after the discovery of a mutated strain of the virus that could jeopardize the efficacy of future vaccinations.
Nevertheless, unable at once to incinerate such a vast number of dead animals, the authorities buried millions of them in massive, shallow pits in a military training area in western Jutland, some of which resurfaced as gas-filled corpses.
Canada has, meanwhile, joined the list of countries with reported mink farming cases. Without the need to slaughter animals, Singapore has approved the sale of laboratory-grown meat produced in bioreactors. After visiting a test restaurant near Tel Aviv, Israel, to taste a lab-grown chicken burger, Guardian journalist Oliver Holmes gave his own opinion on this innovation.
Great Britain’s news
On animal welfare grounds, England and Wales intend to ban live animal exports. For now, the ban won’t extend to Scotland.
It will not extend to Northern Ireland either,