Original article by Hayley Chapman
The use of critically important antimicrobials on UK dairy farms fell by 98% between 2018 and 2021 and nearly 80% of dairy farmers exceeded industry antibiotics reduction targets.
This is according to a new study published by dairy specialist Kingshay.
The first Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report found the average usage across nearly 1,000 producers was 15.5mg/kg population correction unit (PCU*).
This is 26% below the target set by the Responsible Use of Medicine in Agriculture Alliance (Ruma).
In the year ending March 2021, 79% of dairy farms were using fewer antimicrobials than the target of 21mg/kg PCU.
However, the report revealed there is an opportunity for increased uptake of teat sealants as an alternative to antimicrobials in the dry period, with 37% of farms not using them at all.
Original article by Meredith Johnson
The California egg market is behaving as expected after months of speculation.
After Proposition 12 came into effect on January 1, 2022, egg prices in the U.S. state of California were $2.23 per dozen at the first of the year, then increased to $2.87 later in the month. In the first week of February, prices had fallen back to $2.42, then reached $2.24 in mid-February.
While egg prices are fluctuating as anticipated, prices started morphing into Urner Barry’s cage-free quotation in the middle of December 2021, said Randy Pesciotta, Vice President of the company, in an interview with Egg Industry Insight.
Original article by Joel Finkelstein
In response to surging deforestation in Brazil and a new investigation documenting their ties to deforestation, supermarket chains in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK today announced they were dropping Brazilian beef altogether and/or beef products tied to JBS, the world’s largest beef company.
The move comes following a new investigation by Repórter Brasil in partnership with Mighty Earth that tracked deforestation-linked beef to European retail store shelves, in the form of beef jerky, corned beef and fresh prime cuts. Mighty Earth shared the findings directly with the companies in advance of planned publication, resulting in today’s announcements.
“This is a watershed moment because several huge supermarkets across Europe are saying an emphatic ‘No!’ to Brazilian beef over deforestation concerns,” said Mighty Earth Europe Director Nico Muzi. “This is not a vague commitment or a nice announcement that looks good in a press release. These are a series of concrete commercial actions taken by some of the biggest supermarkets in Europe to stop buying and selling beef from a company and a country that have made too many promises and have delivered too few results.”
“Christmas has come early for the forests in the Amazon, the Brazilian Cerrado savannahs and the Pantanal wetlands,” said Muzi.
The key commitments from Europe-based supermarkets announced today are:
The research by Repórter Brasil in partnership with Mighty Earth found multiple examples of “cattle laundering” – beef processed by JBS at its slaughterhouses in low-deforestation areas such as São Paulo, but sourced from cattle raised and fed on farms officially sanctioned – and embargoed – for illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, or tied to destruction of the Cerrado woody savannah and the Pantanal tropical wetlands.
With annual revenues of $50 billion, JBS is the world’s largest producer of beef – slaughtering almost 35,000 cattle a day in Brazil alone. In 2017, about a third of JBS’s beef exports from Brazil are assessed to have come from the Amazon.
In the past year, the Brazilian Amazon has seen the worst deforestation levels in 15 years. Scientists estimate two-thirds of cleared land in the Amazon and the Cerrado has been converted to cattle pasture.
“The new research shows JBS continues to sell beef linked to deforestation, even though there are around 650 million hectares of land in Latin America where deforestation-free agricultural production is possible,” said Muzi. “The big news is that Europe is not buying it now. These commercial actions as well as new EU legislation to stamp out imported deforestation, show that the grip is tightening on forest destroyers.”
“In fact, based on today’s commitments, it looks like JBS’s irresponsible practices are causing major supermarkets and retailers to turn away not just from this one company, but from Brazil-sourced and even South American-sourced beef in general,” said Muzi. “If I was another beef company from that part of the world, I would urge JBS to stop making their entire region a deforestation-linked global pariah. Certainly, there are many companies in South America that do better.”
This past April, Mighty Earth released its newest analysis of deforestation data, which found that JBS was the worst-performing meatpacker. It has been linked to 100,000 hectares of clearance the past two years. Some 75 percent of this clearance occurred in protected areas, making it potentially illegal under Brazilian law.
Corporate Statements on Today’s Commitments
“Albert Heijn has decided to stop sourcing beef from Brazil for all of its stores,” said a spokesperson for Albert Heijn. “This includes private label as well as branded products. Albert Heijn will be working with our suppliers in the coming months to phase out or replace all beef products of Brazilian origin.”
“Protecting biodiversity, including preventing deforestation, are central themes within our sustainable purchasing policy,” said Renée Bijvoets, Sustainability Manager for Lidl Netherlands. “Given the risk of deforestation linked to beef with South-American origin, we have decided together with our supplier to look for alternative sourcing. The result is that from January 2022 onwards we will not sell beef with South-American origin in our fixed assortment.”
“Following the alert received by Repórter Brasil and Mighty Earth, we conducted an immediate investigation,” said Geoffroy Gersdorff, Group Director of Merchandise Offer Food and Non-Food of Carrefour Group. “As a consequence, Carrefour will stop selling Jack Link’s beef jerky in Carrefour Belgium and will increase its surveillance in all its operating countries. This commercial decision was taken within Carrefour’s Committee on purchasing rules for the food transition. The Group salutes the NGO’s commitment to this fight, as dialogue and vigilance on the part of everyone allows us to identify problems and make progress.”
“Delhaize will ensure that all Jack Link’s beef jerky will be removed from all of their stores.,” said a spokesperson for Ahold Delhaize.
“The link between cattle farming and the destruction of ecosystems like the Amazon, the Cerrado, and the Pantanal is a complex issue, which we take extremely seriously. We have taken a range of steps together with our suppliers and the wider industry to try to address this, but not enough progress has been made. We are therefore committed to move our own brand corned beef sourcing away from Brazil to ensure Sainsbury’s corned beef product can be independently verified deforestation and conversion free in origin.”
“Auchan is engaged against deforestation and land clearance in Brazil and particularly in the Cerrado,” said a spokesperson for Auchan France. “In order to support this engagement Auchan works closely with Earthworm Foundation which assists retailers in the implementation of responsible procurement policy. Also, the company signed the manifesto against deforestation soybeans one year ago. Currently our quality service investigates on your information. The product is openly sold by a lot of retailers and e-business in France. Auchan couldn’t be pointed as a specific seller of this product. To prevent any misunderstanding and complying with our commitments, Auchan decides to withdrawal out of shelves the product.”
“Princes has not placed a contract for corned beef from JBS since November 2020; the Princes branded corned beef sourced from JBS and identified by Mighty Earth on shelves in the UK and Netherlands will be residual sales from this last contract.
Princes takes the issue of deforestation very seriously and continually engages with suppliers to improve supply chain management, mitigate risks and enhance transparency. We have been reviewing our corned beef supply chain and are developing a new sourcing policy for Brazilian material taking into account a wide range of factors including traceability, risk, cost, quality, customer feedback, the management of indirect suppliers and a commitment to zero deforestation”
We commenced this review of Brazilian beef sourcing in mid-2021 and our updated policy will be publicly available on our website in 2022 once we have formally adopted it and communicated to suppliers. Princes does not comment on commercial relationships with customers or suppliers. Our updated sourcing policy will be discussed with Brazilian corned beef suppliers but we will not make a public comment on commercial trading relationships.”
Originally published on December 15, 2021 in MightyEarth.org
Original article by Melanie Epp
In a press release last week, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) declared a huge win for transparency and accountability, as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed to publicly disclose records related to the treatment of animals in US slaughter plants.
According to AWI, USDA agreed to publicly disclose slaughter records in order to settle a lawsuit file by the organization. A federal magistrate judge for the US District Court for the Western District of New York approved the settlement last week.
According to AWI, the 2018 complaint alleged that the USDA failed to proactively disclose records relating to the enforcement of two laws—the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act—as required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Such records expose inhumane treatment of animals at slaughter plants across the country, including incidents of workers throwing chickens and improperly stunning pigs and cattle, and transporters abandoning trucks full of animals for hours in hot weather.
“This is the biggest step in improving government transparency at slaughter since the USDA began disclosing these records pursuant to FOIA,” said Erin Sutherland, staff attorney for AWI’s farm animal program. “Thousands of slaughterhouse records are now readily available to concerned citizens and animal advocacy groups who wish to monitor USDA enforcement without waiting months or even years for the department to respond to FOIA requests.”
“The USDA’s agreement to proactively post slaughter records is a huge victory,” said Emily von Klemperer, general counsel for Farm Sanctuary. “These records routinely expose inhumane treatment of animals at slaughter facilities and are critical to our efforts to educate the public and hold the agency accountable to enforce what minimal legal protections farm animals have.”
AWI and Farm Sanctuary are suing the USDA to address the mistreatment of poultry at slaughter in a separate lawsuit. A federal judge ruled in October that the lawsuit will move forward.
Originally published on January 10, 2022 in The Pig Site
Global Animal Partnership (GAP) announces Broiler Chicken Breeds based on University of Guelph Study
The University of Guelph hosted the largest multidisciplinary broiler chicken study to date, including over 7,500 broiler chickens from 16 different genetic strains. The study included research measures across the following areas: behavior, physiology, immunology, production, and meat quality. Global Animal Partnership has used the data from the study to develop a full protocol and compiled a list of breeds from the study which meet the requirements. GAP notes that its list is not meant to be exhaustive and invites all broiler chicken breeding companies to test any breeds they believe will meet the new GAP requirements.
Originally published on Global Animal Partnership in December 2021
A new standard for producing cage-free eggs in the country is already being utilized, with producers close to completing their certification.
The China Chain Store and Franchise Operation (CCFA), representative of retailing in China, set the country’s standard for the production, distribution, and sale of cage-free eggs in late October of this year. The specifications were developed by the CCFA and the China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance (CAFA), IQC, a farm certification company, and egg producers in the country.
Corporate cage-free commitments are the main driver of increased cage-free production. Commitments in China include ALDI, Costco, City Shop, and more.
“Any egg producers or food companies including retailers, restaurants, FMCG and hotels that meet the standard after being verified by CCFA will be entitled to mark ‘cage free’ on their packaging or advertising materials,” stated Chu Dong, Vice President of the CCFA.
According to the CCFA’s website, its retail partners include major chain stores and international brands such as Walmart, Starbucks, Carrefour, Burger King and others.
“More than a dozen egg producers are currently going through the on-site audit and verification process after the standard was released and we anticipate that the majority of them will be approved soon,” according to Mutzu Huang, program manager at Lever China, in an interview with Food Ingredients First.
“Producers or food companies who do not pass the regular audit will not be entitled to use the ‘cage-free’ mark anymore. China’s new cage-free standard is actually more rigorous and more comprehensive than that of some other countries, such as for example the US,” states Huang.
It’s important to note that while the cage-free standards have been set and said to cover multiple animal welfare and food safety parameters, a source to detail the standards has not been identified.
Transparency and communication concerning company commitments and cage-free production to build trust on the consumer level has been a major topic of discussion in the past year. Companies that have made pledges are expected by consumers to clearly report their progress towards meeting cage free commitments.
According to Han Taixin, vice president of egg producer Ovodan, “This group standard ensures transparency in the production of cage-free eggs and will help food companies communicate with consumers.”
Originally published on December 3, 2021 in WATTPoultry.com
Original article by Tony McDougal
Calf health and welfare came under the spotlight at last week’s Dairy Research Partnership online conference, which saw UK researchers sharing the outcomes of a range of projects.
Dr. David Bell, research associate at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), looked at the impact of early life thermal environment on calf performance. Their first challenge looked at calves being exposed to temperatures far lower than in the uterus.
Bell talked about lower critical temperatures – the point when the calf needs to change its posture and move around the pen to keep warm. At birth this in the region of 15°C (59°F) but this falls to 0°C (32°F) at one month, although cattle breeds have different critical temperatures, the Jersey calf’s lower critical temperature is much higher than a Holstein.
The study involved 300 calves in a year-round calving dairy herd where air temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed, live-weight and clinical health scores were monitored from birth to 28 days of life.
Calf Growth Rate
Calves were housed in individual hutches from 6-14 days before going into group housing. Results showed that calves born between December and February in the hutch were exposed to lower critical temperatures which did have an effect on growth rate. Offering more bedding and heat lamps had a positive effect on calf health and growth rates, but this could not be proven for stock wearing calf jackets. “Don’t underestimate the importance of early life environment and housing environment impacts on growth,” he said.
Robert Hyde, PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, highlighted practical housing and management changes for healthy and productive calves. Hyde said dairy calves get a rough deal on dairy farms – lots of health and welfare issues for cows so calves often tend to get neglected. Desk research shows that nearly half of UK calves face respiratory disease and diarrhea (46%/48%), while 1 in 5 don’t get through passive transfer and mortality rates are at 4.5%.
Taking data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) between 2011 and 2018, Hyde said 25% of all animals that died on farm died in the first 3 months of life.
The core part of the project was to develop Calf Health Plans. A total of 60 dairy farms were selected, visited, buildings were measured and temperatures and humidity were measured every 15 minutes over 6 months. Blood samples and colostrum bacteriology test results were sampled and birth weights, weaning rates, disease and death rates were monitored.
Among the key results were:
• Colostrum: Farmers need to feed enough (3/4 liters within 6 hours of birth).
• Nutrition: Growing calves need 6-8 liters per day.
• Hygiene: Calf pens should be cleaned every 30 days and calving pens every 21 days.
• Housing: Temperature is very important and nesting and supplementary heat can help.
The calf plan was tested with the 60 farms randomly split whereby half received a calf plan with 20 key factors. The results showed those with the calf plan found lower mortality rates and diarrhea levels, although pneumonia rates were flat across the board.
Calf grazing systems
Robert Patterson, PhD researcher at the Agro-Food and Biosciences Institute in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, highlighted optimizing heifer grazing systems saying there was a large range in post-weaning practices and often it was the most commonly overlooked element of the dairying system.
Patterson said dairy farmers wanted to work on a 24-month calving policy to get a good return on investment. This meant that the animals needed to reach puberty at 13 months and in-calf at 15 months, so good early nutrition and decent live weight gains were important. “Grass is an understated resource – it is the cheapest food and a valuable asset and should be incorporated as much as possible into diets,” he said.
The first study investigated the optimum pasture allowance for replacement dairy heifers to achieve optimal animal and pasture performance. There has been limited research in this area but industry guidelines vary from 2-3% for growing cattle.
Dairy pasture allowance (% bodyweight) on maiden heifers in the 159-day trial found that the heifer DLWF (kg/day) of 0.8kg/day was met with a 3% bodyweight daily pasture allowance, compared to 0.75kg/day at a 2.4% rate and 0.64kg/day at a 1.8% rate.
The figures were different for in-calf heifers with 2.4% bodyweight daily pasture allowance leading to a 0.79% heifer DWLF (kg/day) compared to 0.91% heifer kg/day for those fed 3%, which meant they were over-conditioned.
Optimum pasture allowance to achieve target growth without supplementary feeding and acceptable levels of sward utilization was 3% of bodyweight for maiden heifers and 2.4% of bodyweight for in-calf heifers. Heifers ahead of target could be allocated lower pasture allowances by 0.5% to target higher rates of pasture utilization, he added.
Originally published on Dairy Global on November 30, 2021
Original article by Meredith Johnson
The committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives presented a set of amendments to the 2016 Question 3 law that will help bring uniformity to cage-free production in the state and prevent a shortage in 2022.
The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill on June 24 that will change the housing density mandate of the 2016 Question 3 law. However, the committee on Ways and Means presented a set of changes to that bill on October 5 that, if passed, are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
In addition to other amendments in the presentation, Aaron Michlewitz, chairman on the committee on Ways and Means, argued that
Additionally, Michlewitz stated that the law should be renamed “An Act further regulating hen welfare and establishing uniform cage-free standards” and that it should be declared an emergency law (necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience) to prevent potential egg shortages in the state.
The requests were approved and are scheduled to be reviewed by the House.
During the initial housing density changes in June, Massachusetts Senator Jason Lewis stated, “If we don’t take action, there will be very few egg producers who will actually be in compliance with the standard as established in the ballot question, and that is not enough egg producers to meet demand here in the commonwealth — in fact far from it.”
In the most recent review of amendments this week, Massachusetts State Representative Carolyn Dykema stated, “Passage of this bill is time sensitive and is essential to protecting our fragile food supply chain when food insecurity is as high as ever.”
Published on WATTPoultry.com on October 11, 2021
Even in our current world of COVID-19, upcoming state regulations, investors, NGOs and consumers are all demanding transparency in your animal protein supply chain. Sustainable Solutions Group can help your brand optimize your animal welfare program and give consumers what they are looking for.
We work with top global food companies to improve supply chain animal welfare, traceability and to answer consumer concerns. See endorsements on our website.
Consumers have pushed animal welfare requirements beyond premium brands. Animal welfare ranks high on the priority list for food companies, yet reporting remains underdeveloped.
Clear animal welfare criteria must appear in your sustainability reporting, and Sustainable Solutions Group can help with the design, assessment, and implementation of animal welfare related policies.
Learn more about our approach on our website.
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If your brand is a good fit, we can do a 20-minute animal welfare phone consultation to discuss your animal welfare policy, sourcing challenges and upcoming commitments as you’ll be needing to ensure compliance from suppliers and producers.
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A new approach to life cycle analysis that integrates animal welfare metrics into sustainability guidelines could help egg producers evaluate their options during the transition to cage-free housing.
“Life cycle analysis (LCA) is used to assess the cumulative impact of a product throughout its entire life cycle, meaning it looks at the environmental impact associated with every step along the supply chain from raw material extraction to the end-of-life disposal and management,” Ian Turner, a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia, explained at the 2021 Virtual Egg Industries Forum.
Unlike a carbon footprint, life cycle analysis is a multi-criteria methodology. A carbon footprint only measures greenhouse gas emissions. LCA, on the other hand, often includes greenhouse gas emissions, as well as factors that contribute to water acidification, the ozone layer and more.
“Globally, LCA will continue to be a useful tool for the egg industry, particularly for those that are undergoing transitions away from conventional caged production,” Turner added.
More than just environmental impact
The term sustainability is has transformed into more than just the environmental impact of a product. It now also encompasses animal welfare, social and other issues.
“It’s generally accepted that sustainability is a multi-faceted concept that takes into account environmental, economic and social components. So, while a cage-free system might fare well in the environmental facets of sustainability compared to others, it may face challenges in the other two components,” said Turner.
Approaches within life cycle analysis can incorporate the social or economic impact of a process. However, no approach, until now, also analyzed the animal welfare impact of egg production.
Adding in animal welfare
Turner’s research focuses on the development of a life cycle analysis framework that integrates animal welfare impact, as well as environmental and social factors.
First, he had to define animal welfare.
“We quickly came to the conclusion that there are many different definitions of animal welfare in scientific literature,” he said. “We choose the definition of welfare proposed by David Frasier. This defines welfare as having three components, namely biological health, behavior and affective state.”
Once integrated, the researchers tested the framework with a case study of the Canadian egg industry.
“This showed that our approach is a significant step forward over previous attempts to integrate animal welfare into the LCA framework,” Turner noted. “By integrating animal welfare assessment into the LCA framework, we’re further expanding the LCA toolkit into a more holistic sustainability tool that will allow farmers to make more informed decisions.”
Published in Meatingplace.com in May 2021