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The EAAP Report Executive Summary

-"Three principal questions remain unresolved: the origin of the BSE epidemic; the future of vCJD; and what to do with the 16 million tonnes of animal byproducts produced annually by the slaughter industry...." (read on)

Extracts from EAAP Series no. 108 BSE report Conclusions

  • The non-monetary values involved in livestock production (safety, ethical production, environmental protection, fair trade, conservation of rural society, respect for tradition, and others) are important. However...If the non-monetary values are to be respected, the free market needs to be circumscribed by formal requirements. The task for the future is to develop these so that they achieve their objective, without simply serving the interests of particular groups or increasing the burden of regulation to unreasonable levels.

  • it serves the economic purposes of large processing and retailing firms to focus consumer trust on company brands rather than on products identified by region or production system.

  • There is evidence (e.g. in UK) that dominant retail groupings exploit their strength to impose unreasonable terms on their suppliers. Given the pace of which food retailing (and processing) power is being concentrated, there is a strong case for closer monitoring and control of such abuse of economic power.

  • can be seen in USA, scale alone does not assure economic survival.

  • The inevitable further decline in numbers engaged in livestock production, and the parallel increase in scale of remaining production units, has no particular end point. It is a continuing process, shared by other sectors in an evolving world economy.

    Read Conclusions in full

    Warmwell is grateful to have been made aware of this summary of the report on the Pro-Med mail website,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1000,26493
    Source: European Association of Animal Production (EAAP) publication no
    108, 2003; EAAP web-site, accessed 24 Aug 2004 [edited]

    After BSE - A future for the European Livestock Sector: Executive Summary
    1. The BSE epidemic, which began in 1986, is now gradually coming to an
    end. Though knowledge is incomplete, enough is known about the disease to
    be reasonably confident that such an epidemic will not recur.
    2. 3 principal questions remain unresolved: the origin of the BSE epidemic;
    the future of vCJD; and what to do with the 16 million tonnes of animal
    byproducts produced annually by the slaughter industry.
    3. Loss of value and cost of disposal of MBM exceed 1.5 billion Euro [USD
    1.8 billion] per year. Though new EU legislation could permit over 80
    percent of this material to be used again in livestock feeds, the best
    option is to continue the ban on its use.
    4. The cost of the epidemic has been enormous, and is estimated here at
    about 10 percent of the annual output value of the European beef sector.
    The discounted present value of these costs is estimated at 92 billion Euro
    [USD 111 billion].
    5. The progress of the epidemic was marked by many deficiencies and
    failures, of which 2 are particularly noted:
    - The inadequacies of public information, particularly in the UK
    - Failure to prevent international spread through contaminated meat and
    bone meal.
    6. Ongoing changes in the industry are documented: changing consumer
    requirements; concentration of processing and retailing power; declining
    producer prices, and reduction in numbers of full-time producers. These
    changes represent both the causes and effects of a continuing shift in the
    terms of trade to the disadvantage of producers. To ensure fair trading,
    increased controls to prevent abuse of economic power may be necessary.
    7. In the present context it is ironic to note that the situation on animal
    disease in Europe has never been better. All major diseases are eradicated
    or under control. For the future the emphasis will be on the control of
    enzootic diseases, largely through husbandry practices; reduction, and
    eventual elimination of routine use of antibiotics in feeds; and intensive
    research to cope with emerging diseases.
    8. Scientists have lost credibility as a result of the BSE crisis. While it
    is more critical than ever that public policy be informed by the best
    scientific advice, those involved in providing such advice must more
    carefully identify and distinguish the factual basis from the value
    judgements involved.
    9. Scientific innovation has also lost favour with the public, particularly
    where it affects food and health. The livestock sector will need to weigh
    carefully the technical benefits against the risks and public acceptability
    of technologies such as GMOs, BST in milk production, growth promoters in
    meat production.
    10. Given that over 95 percent of European livestock production is destined
    for European consumers, the production industry must concentrate on
    securing their loyalty by fulfilling their expectations on:
    - food safety;
    - transparency and accountability;
    - quality and variety, including response to the demand for regional and
    organic products.
    11. New ways need to be found to build the community of interest of
    producers, processors, and retailers in meeting these goals.

    [The economic losses of BSE to EU countries, as calculated in this report,
    have been tremendous; the lesson, and conclusions, are valuable to
    countries around the globe.  The full "After BSE Report" (104 pages) is
    accessible at the above web-site. - Mod.AS]