Livestock: Tesco’s polluting poultry, deadly heat and China’s pork boom | Environment

The mega of Europe farms and the pollution crisis

The high concentration of mega-farms and millions of pigs, cattle and chickens in a small number of regions across Europe has created a pollution nightmare, according to a new Guardian investigation.

In the United Kingdom, a mecca for chicken farming is Herefordshire, with a major deal to supply chicken to Tesco now linked to the pollution of one of the UK’s favorite rivers, the Wye.

In Germany, the ‘pig belt’, a meat production hotspot in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony, has been blamed excess ammonia and nitrate emissions in groundwater.

Intensive chicken farms
The growing number of intensive chicken farms in Herefordshire and the River Wye catchment has left the river in a ‘critical condition’, campaigners say.

News from around the world

Yields of key crops in Europe will be down sharply this year due to heat waves and droughtsexacerbating the effects of the war in Ukraine on food prices. Corn, sunflower and soy the EU expects yields to fall by around 8% due to hot weather across the continent.

There is frustration in Canada with plans to reduce the use of fertilizers to fight the climate crisis. The government wants a 30% reduction in emissions, and agricultural producer groups say reducing nitrous oxide emissions cannot be achieved without reducing fertilizer use.

Meanwhile, Ireland pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 25% by 2030 after a bitter political battle between farmersbusiness groups and environmentalists.

Indonesia faces its first major epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in almost 40 years. Since May, more than 300,000 cases have been recorded in 21 provinces, prompting the Indonesian government to deploy a vaccination program inoculate healthy cattle.

French health authorities have confirmed a link between nitrates added to processed meat and colon cancer, dealing a blow to the precious country ham and charcuterie industry. The national food safety body, ANSES, said its study of published data on the subject supported similar conclusions in 2015 from the World Health Organization.

A great american chicken companyMountaire Farms, reportedly asked its contract farmers to oppose a Biden administration proposal to improve their terms, as the company says it would ultimately reduce farmers’ pay.

In Australia, eggs became the last food taken in Supply Chain misfortunes. Reduced production at a number of farms has affected the supply of locally produced eggs in some areas, a major retailer has admitted.

China experienced a significant decline in pork imports after his meat production increased by 8.2% to 29.4 million tonnes compared to the same period last year.

UK News

over a million meat chickens die every week in the UK before reaching slaughter weight, according to a new report. An analysis of government figures by animal welfare charity Open Cages reveals that around 64 million chickens die prematurely each year in the UK.

Poultry farmers should prepare for bird flu numbers remain high through winter and prepare accordingly, according to UK animal health officials. “We can’t let our guard down,” said Ian Brown, head of virology at the Animal and Plant Health Agency. “The outlook for the immediate future is not great.”

Bird flu managed to do what animal rights activists have been trying to achieve for decades – with a little help from Brexit. Dozens of pheasant and partridge shoots were canceled before the shooting season after an unprecedented avian flu epidemic in France left gamekeepers in the UK with few birds to raise.

Lamb, pork and beef production in Britain returns to pre-Covid levels, according to the last digits of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. With the impact of the pandemic easing, premium lamb slaughter for each of the first five months of 2022 was higher than the previous year.

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Farmers have expressed their fury at a government campaign to attack nitrogen pollution by reducing the number of pigs, cattle and chickens in the Netherlands. They blocked food distribution centers with hundreds of tractors, blocked main roads and demonstrated in front of regional assemblies and the residences of ministers.

A growing number of UK Farmers plan to adapt their farms to protect the animals against thermal stress. Among the new measures are indoor ‘naps’ for cows that can normally graze outdoors in the summer. Heat stress is a major problem for cattle, especially modern dairy cows, which can produce 10-15% less milk at higher temperatures.

Share your stories and comments

Thank you to everyone who reaches out to share their thoughts on the series.

Pat Bitton, from Eureka, California in the United States, wrote:

What’s wrong with people? American salmon not good enough for Americans – they have to fly it in from Denmark? French frogs not good enough for the French – must they be driving native species in other countries to the brink of extinction? Nopeeveryone has the right to the food of their choice, wherever it comes from. Let’s get back to eating what can be grown on a manageable scale in our regions – and try to avoid monocultural practices that are decimating our pollinator populations.

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