European Union MPs are considering lifting the ban lift the ban on feeding animal by-products to pigs, chickens and farmed fish.
The ban was imposed after cattle developed BSE (Mad Cow Disease) after eating such feed and people who ate the meat developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease – vCJD.
Chickens, pigs and fish are omnivores. The danger to health is thought to come from feeding processed animal products (PAP) to cattle and sheep which are not and the ban on feeding PAP would still apply to them.
The potential U-turn comes as concerns escalate about how the world will continue to feed itself against a backdrop of rapidly inflating food prices and a soaring population. At the moment, animal feed producers import vast quantities of soya from countries in South America, grown on land that could otherwise be used to feed people living there. Demand for soya-based animal feed is also fuelling the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Although altering the composition of animal feed would make ecological sense, Britain’s livestock industry fears that the move would prove commercial suicide. A debate at the annual Pig & Poultry Live event earlier this month revealed many farmers were horrified by the EU proposal.
I think there would be strong market-resistance to this. I’m not allowed to be a blood donor in case I’m carrying vCJB because I was in Britain for several months in the early 80s.
Changing the law doesn’t force force farmers to give processed animal proteins (PAP) to their stock and those which didn’t would have a marketing advantage over those who did.
But even if it is safe to feed PAP to omnivores and there’s no danger of mad chickens, pigs and fish how could they stop anyone buying the feed and giving it – accidentally or on purpose – to sheep and cattle?
A better way to tackle feed-shortages would be to get rid of subsidies which lead to inefficient production.
Hat tip: PM of NZ