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WMC - Meeting Challenges to Global Meat Industry

6 June 2012, at 12:00pm

FRANCE - The global meat industry has two main challenges - to meet the growing world demand for food and the challenge to meet environmental concerns, writes Chris Harris from the World Meat Congress in Paris.

New French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll at the opening of the Congress on Tuesday called on the meat industry to face up to the challenges.

He said that the industry faced questions from some sections of society that were moving away from eating animal proteins, because of the amount of feed that is needed to produce the meat.

However, the meat industry need to show it is feeding the population sustainably and at the same time meeting environmental issues.

"You have to factor in to animal production that you are really tackling the environmental problems," he told the delegates.

He said that in Europe the changes to the common Agricultural Policy offered a potential model for animal production which demonstrated biodiversity.

"You have to take account of the roll of biodiversity in meat production in meeting the environmental challenge," M. Le Foll said.

He said that the industry needed to embrace discussion within the sector rather than simply seeing competition form markets.

He said it needs to be organised at a world level to set standards for trade in hygiene, environmental and social issues.

M. Le Foll called for a harmonisation of rules and standards around the world particularly in meeting the challenge of animal diseases.

"Diseases do not stop at borders. They move around," he said.

"We need harmonised rules."

He said that animal welfare issues also have to be taken into account, but there needs to be a balance between welfare regulations and the opportunities for the farmers to be able to earn a living.

He said there needs to be a balance between production and ethical working methods.

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