By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
Milk is the EU's number one agricultural product in terms of value, accounting for approximately 15% of agricultural output with approximately 148 million tonnes of cow milk produced in 2014. The dairy sector is also of significant economic and social importance in the EU, with over 650,000 specialised dairy farmers,almost 18 million dairy cows and 1.2 million people engaged in dairying (Eurostat census 2010).
The EU milk supply was managed for more than 30 years by the EU milk quota system which expired on 1 April 2015. This system provided a national quota and an individual quota fixed for each producer or purchaser, with a penalty (‘superlevy') payable by individual farmers and countries who exceeded their quotas.
By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK
The European Agriculture Council has formally approved a draft law on animal diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans (zoonoses).
The provisions in the law on farm animal health visits stipulate that professional animal owners are to receive regular animal health visits from a veterinarian for disease prevention, detection and biosecurity. This new piece of legislation aims to merge and update existing scattered directives and regulations into a single and coherent law.
It is announced as an important step forward, since visits by vets are the cornerstone of the ‘prevention is better than cure’ strategy and indispensable for the prevention and early detection of known and emerging transmissible diseases. The role of the veterinarian in achieving this is defined and highlighted. The veterinary profession also has an active part to play in raising awareness of animal health and of One Health, or the interaction between animal health, animal welfare and public health.
By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, Editor of Dairy Science Abstracts
Milk quotas in the European Union (EU) will be abolished from the 1 April 2015, exactly 31 years after its introduction.
The Dairy Produce Quota Regulations were introduced by the European Economic Community (EEC) on the 2 April 1984 and were originally due to run until 1989, but have been extended many times since then.
According to this regulation, the milk market in the EU is regulated by a quota system. Every member country has a production quota which it distributes to farmers. Whenever a member country exceeds its quota, it has to pay a penalty (‘super levy’) to the EU.
Abolition of milk quotas has been heavily criticized by farmers. However, in the light of globalization of dairy markets in recent years, together with increased consumption of dairy products outside the EU, milk quotas have long outlived their usefulness for EU countries. It is estimated that global milk production between 2008 and 2013, for example, increased by over 90 billion litres - equivalent to over half of the entire EU production of 160 million litres.
Apart from distorting production across the EU, national quotas have facilitated dairy market development in other countries. For example, New Zealand and Australia, which produce only 5% of global milk, account for 40% of global exports of dairy products. Meanwhile, the EU accounts for 24% of the global milk production, and 24% of world cheese, butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) exports, according to figures presented by CLAL (dairy brokerage firm).
By M Djuric, DVM
African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread in traditionally endemic sub-Saharan Africa, but it is also expanding into previously ASF-free countries with a new front opening up along the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
The risk of ASF entering China is of particular concern since the country keeps almost half of the worldwide pig population. China is also the biggest importer of pork and has very strong links with ASF-infected countries in Africa. China also shares a border with the ASF-endemic Russian Federation.
China and Asia in general have never encountered ASF, and therefore there is a concern that the region may be unprepared for a potential outbreak of ASF, which could have catastrophic consequences on global pork supply.
To build ASF preparedness and to address the policy gaps, the European Union (EU) -funded LinkTADs research consortium brought together 40 experts from the EU and Asia for the “African Swine Fever Policy Event” in Beijing on 24 November 2014.
By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International
The second report of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare has been published with the expertise and support of animal welfare organisations, Compassion in World Farming (CWF) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
70 companies from across Europe and the USA were assessed, representing food retailers and wholesalers, restaurants and food producers and manufacturers. Companies were assigned into six tiers according to their approach to the management of farm animal welfare and across three categories: Management Commitment and Policy, Governance and Policy Implementation and Leadership and Innovation.
The Report showed that 56% of companies have published formal farm animal welfare policies in 2013 (compared with 46% in 2012) and that 41% have published objectives and targets for farm animal welfare compared with 26% in 2012.
This blog is about the weirdness of global trade… and the
lengths (literally) we go for chocolate.
The wrapper on my Marks & Spencer (M&S) valentine chocolates read: “Made with our exclusive British Milk chocolate recipe, Made in
Incredibly, it seemed that a firm in South Africa (SA) was targeting local people with a taste for British chocolate, and somehow M&S
sourced them for sale in the UK!
Was this I wondered another example of fuel miles not being
built into food production costs (see “food miles”), like apples from the Cape or Kenyan flowers at petrol stations?
By Miroslav Djuric
European Antibiotic Awareness Day is an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance to public health and animal health as well as the importance of prudent use of antibiotics.
On the occasion of the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which was marked on 18 November 2012, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released new data demonstrating that antibiotic resistance remains a major European and global public health problem. Imprudent use of antibiotics is one of the main factors responsible for the development and increase in antibiotic resistance.
The ECDC data show that during the last decade, there has been an increase in antibiotic consumption in the EU. Antibiotic consumption in hospitals is considered as the main source that leads to the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, although the vast majority of antibiotic consumption occurs in the community, i.e outside hospitals. National antibiotic consumption data are publicly available from ESAC-Net providing a basis for monitoring progress towards a more prudent use of antibiotics.