How to kill poultry production with regulations

Some Spanish poultry producers are worried about the consequences of the new animal welfare standards in the European Union.

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Regulations and laws are necessary in this world, otherwise we would live in chaos (although sometimes it might seem we do). However, with my current disillusion with politicians – lawmakers included – I feel that personal interests dictate decisions, and not precisely common well-being and common sense. 

This is the case of the new European animal welfare standards that will come into effect soon. The Catalonian poultry producers federation (FederaciĂł AvĂ­cola Catalana, FAC) in Spain is worried about the consequences of the new animal welfare standards in the European Union.

It is a great shame that an animal protein sector such as the poultry industry is once again being pressured to invest and implement changes after the great resilience poultry producers have demonstrated over the years, particularly in the last three with the pandemic, bird flu and high raw materials prices. It is hard to believe they put on this much pressure.

The new regulations (no specifics mentioned) are requiring heavy changes, large investments that will have cause decreased production capacity for some of the largest animal proteins consumed in Spain: chicken and eggs. Avianza, the Spanish Poultry Meat Association states that poultry meat is the most consumed meat in Spain, with 750 million birds produced per year, representing 23% of domestic production.

But the wave goes beyond that. Prices of these proteins will go up for the consumer, at a clear disadvantage with imported products. And then what? Will foreign products be banned or widely accepted? What do lawmakers think the general public will be eating?

Producers are not against animal welfare. Let me say it again – animals not well taken care of, do not produce; therefore, they would have no business. Why is the poultry industry taking the rap for bad animal welfare? Are lawmakers thinking about human well-being with no poultry proteins or very expensive ones? Are they thinking about the reviled countryside, the animal ag entrepreneurs, the so-called “empty Spain?”

What do you think?

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