ANALYSIS - China has been in the news this week after its certification agency, the CNCA, provisionally approved exports of pork from Northern Ireland.
This announcement comes after numerous visits and negotiations between the two countries this year.
Northern Ireland has been seeking approval from China for several years, said Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill. This announcement is therefore a step forward and a boost to the local agri-food industry.
The opening of the market will also benefit NI pig producers and processors as products such as pig trotters, which are not popular on the domestic market but popular in China, will add value to the carcase.
China was also in the news for making progress on farmed pig welfare.
Thanks to the work of Compassion in World Farming and the Chinese International Cooperation Committee on Animal Welfare, more and more Chinese pig farmers are now starting to introduce good welfare and environmental practices as they intensify production.
In other welfare news, the German government has announced it is to spend more than €33 million on animal welfare programmes.
The 2015 Federal Government Animal Welfare Report states that the government has already started to put plans into place to ban castration of piglets without anaesthetic by 2019.
The sector started the moves to phase out the practice two years ago and according to the report alternatives to castration including leaving entire boars and immunocastration are being considered to castration under anaesthetic, when castration without anaesthetic is banned.
The report says that any alternative methods will have to be discussed and clarified with the rest of the food chain and several workshops and seminars involving politicians, welfare groups and consumer groups have been held to discuss the alternatives to castration without anaesthetic.
In disease news, Israel has reported an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) on a pig farm in Hazafon. In total, 172 pigs were effected.
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