The UK pig and poultry sectors have invested millions of pounds into new higher animal welfare systems but it is essential that these farmers can run their businesses at a profit, according to Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union.
a number of challenges for the two sectors, including a need for science-based animal welfare standards, on top of falling profit margins; a requirement for welfare organizations to recognize the large strides farmers have made; and the need to produce pig, poultry meat and eggs, to meet a range of consumer demands.
“Both the pig and poultry sectors have invested heavily in meeting new European welfare standards but the challenges do not end there,” says Kendall. “It is vital that the industry can meet productivity demands – our ambition is to put more British products on British dinner plates - while meeting strict standards for animal welfare. Pig and poultry farmers care for their livestock and their health and welfare has a direct effect on farm profitability. There is no room for poor results as margins are small.
“At the same time, the industry and the food supply chain need to educate consumers on the welfare standards already in place. Farmers can, and do, produce food to suit a number of purse-strings and, in all cases, welfare is a key priority.
“But there are a number of other challenges as well, not to mention climate change, food consumption changes and the need to improve on-farm incomes and encourage investment. The bottom line is that we need to ensure that we have profitable and long-term futures for both the pig and poultry industries in this country which can meet the increasing demand for British products.”