Welfare animal nutrition – Trend or Fad?

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

After
successfully enforcing the ban on in-feed antibiotics, certain countries in the
European Union, are trying to differentiate their meat production methods by
promoting a welfare system that exceeds current normal established production
practices.

 

Here,
it is should be noted, that already in the European Union there is considerable
legislation that has put livestock producers in the region at a serious
disadvantage against less expensive imports. But, going even further there are
on-going discussions on how to design pig diets that can be labeled as welfare friendly.

 

I
am not quite sure this welfare trend will become as widespread as that for
antibiotics. First, we have the example of the United Kingdom, where such
practices virtually removed this country from as a major pig producer.
Basically, authorities and pig producers failed to convince consumers that
welfare meat deserved a premium price over apparently identical meat from
imports.

 

Second,
welfare is a very subjective issue and not related to human health. The issue forces
legislators to intervene in force, such as the case with livestock antibiotics.
Thus, although welfare nutrition will figure as an issue in magazines and
conferences, my prediction is that it will fade quickly (within the next decade)
as has been the case with most feed additives.

 

But,
I may be wrong…so, what do YOU think?