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With thanks to our friends at ‘The Guardian’, London.
Europe’s mega farms and pollution crisis
The heavy concentration of mega farms, and millions of pigs, cattle and chickens in a small number of areas across Europe, has created a pollution nightmare, according to a new Guardian investigation.
In the UK, a hotspot for chicken farming is Herefordshire, with a major deal to supply chicken to Tesco now being linked to the pollution of one of the UK’s favourite rivers, the Wye.
In Germany, the “pig belt”, a hotspot of meat production in the northwest state of Lower Saxony, has been blamed for excess ammonia emissions and nitrates in groundwater.
There is frustration in Canada over plans to reduce fertiliser use to combat the climate crisis. The government wants a 30% reduction in emissions, and farm producer groups say that cutting nitrous oxide emissions can’t be done without reducing fertiliser use.
Meanwhile, Ireland has committed to a 25% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2030 after a bitter political battle between farmers, business groups and environmentalists.
IMPORTANT – Indonesia is dealing with its first major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in almost 40 years. Since May, more than 300,000 cases have been recorded across 21 provinces, prompting the Indonesian government to roll out a vaccine programme to inoculate healthy cattle.
French health authorities have confirmed a link between nitrates added to processed meat and colon cancer, dealing a blow to the country’s prized ham and cured sausage industry. The national food safety body, Anses, said its study of data published on the subject supported similar conclusions in 2015 from the World Health Organization.
A major US chicken company, Mountaire Farms, is reportedly asking its contract farmers to oppose a Biden administration proposal aimed at improving their conditions because the company says it would ultimately reduce farmer pay.
In Australia, eggs have become the latest food caught up in supply chain woes. Reduced production on a number of farms affected the supply of locally produced eggs in some regions, a major retailer admitted.
More than a million meat chickens are dying every week in the UK before reaching slaughter weight, according to a new report. An analysis of government figures by the animal welfare charity Open Cages reveals that about 64 million chickens die prematurely each year in the UK.
Poultry farmers should prepare for bird flu numbers to remain high over the winter and prepare accordingly, according to UK animal health officials. “We cannot drop our guard,” said Ian Brown, head of virology at the Animal and Plant Health Agency. “Prospects for the immediate future are not great.”
Bird flu has managed to do what animal rights activists have been trying to achieve for decades – with a little help from Brexit.
Dozens of pheasant and partridge shoots have been called off ahead of the shooting season after an unprecedented outbreak of avian flu in France left gamekeepers in the UK with few birds to rear.
Lamb, pork and beef production in Britain is returning to pre-Covid levels, according to the latest figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. With the impact of the pandemic subsiding, prime lamb slaughterings for each of the first five months of 2022 were higher than the previous year.