Unions have beef about Brazil

UK - Leaders of the UK and Irish farming unions yesterday met the European Union's health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, in Brussels and pressed him to take more stringent action to safeguard European livestock from the importation of disease, especially from South America.
calendar icon 24 January 2007
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The five unions impressed on Kyprianou the case for not allowing imports of meat into the EU unless it conforms to European standards of production.

A joint statement issued by the five union presidents said: "The threat of animal disease entering Britain and Ireland is of great concern to our members. While some progress has been made by the Brazilian government, many of the measures outlined in the recent Foreign and Veterinary Office (FVO) mission report have yet to be implemented: for example, the lack of traceability, individual animal identification, appropriate veterinary records and the threat of impending foot-and-mouth disease are of real concern. We reminded the Commissioner that if there was any problem with animal or consumer health as a result of sub-standard imports it was his responsibility.

"The Commissioner acknowledged that there were some remaining problems, a lack of good communication and some considerable gaps in verifying implementation of the FVO recommendations. He gave a commitment to improve communication and progress individual identification protocols within Brazil."

Brazil is now the second-largest producer of beef in the world and is fast catching up on the US, which is in pole position. Foot-and-mouth disease was identified in October 2005 in Brazil and since then there have been a series of outbreaks in several provinces.

Brazilian producers regularly blame farmers in Paraguay for the ongoing incidences, claiming they smuggle cattle across the border between the two countries to take advantage of higher prices in Brazil. All cattle in Brazil are supposed to be regularly vaccinated against foot-and-mouth, but the nature of much of the terrain and the vast size of some of the ranches makes this virtually impossible.

Source: The Herald
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