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The EU pig meat sector

01-09-2020

The 150 million pigs reared across the EU represent the largest livestock category before that of bovines, and the EU pig meat sector alone accounts for nearly half of total EU meat production. Germany, Spain and France contribute more than half of the total amount of pig meat produced in the EU. The sector is highly diverse, with huge differences in rearing methods and farm sizes across the Member States: from backyard farming to industrial installations with thousands of animals. Within the common ...

The 150 million pigs reared across the EU represent the largest livestock category before that of bovines, and the EU pig meat sector alone accounts for nearly half of total EU meat production. Germany, Spain and France contribute more than half of the total amount of pig meat produced in the EU. The sector is highly diverse, with huge differences in rearing methods and farm sizes across the Member States: from backyard farming to industrial installations with thousands of animals. Within the common agricultural policy (CAP), the pig meat sector is covered by the common organisation of markets regulating trade and providing support in the event of a sectoral crisis. Farmers can also receive rural development funding under the second pillar of the CAP, for example, to make necessary investments on their farms. A large number of EU legislative acts apply to this sector, covering various aspects of pig farming: environmental protection, food safety and public health, organic production, animal health and welfare. However, evidence shows a lack of compliance with EU regulations on the welfare of pigs and the persistence of harmful routine practices. Another challenge is the air, soil and water pollution caused by intensive pig farming, which takes a heavy toll on the environment. The EU is currently the world's top exporter of pig meat products and its exports have been boosted by the fall in production in Asia, where African swine fever is decimating millions of animals. Increased demand for EU pork pushed prices to a peak in early 2020. In the coming years, the pig production sector may be impacted by the evolution of the policy environment: negotiations on a new CAP are ongoing and the recently published Green Deal initiative and Farm to Fork strategy, both of which promote greener and more sustainable agriculture and food systems, mention the future revision of legislation relevant to the pig sector, including on animal welfare.

Research for AGRI Committee - The revival of wolves and other large predators and its impact on farmers and their livelihood in rural regions of Europe

16-08-2018

This study surveys the current status of large carnivores in Europe and assesses their impact on livestock from the available data on compensation payments and from field research. Recommendations on livestock protection measures are provided, as well on the integration of these into locally adapted holistic management systems.

This study surveys the current status of large carnivores in Europe and assesses their impact on livestock from the available data on compensation payments and from field research. Recommendations on livestock protection measures are provided, as well on the integration of these into locally adapted holistic management systems.

Extern avdelning

John D. C. LINNELL, Benjamin CRETOIS - Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

The future of the EU's sheep and goat sector

30-04-2018

Sheep and goat sector production constitutes just a small share of the output of the EU livestock sector as a whole, but this farming activity's importance is much broader in terms of its social and economic contribution to remote rural areas, not to mention the environmental contribution it makes through the provision of public goods such as landscape and biodiversity conservation. Economic and structural difficulties do not help the sector's growth and this means that the EU is not self-sufficient ...

Sheep and goat sector production constitutes just a small share of the output of the EU livestock sector as a whole, but this farming activity's importance is much broader in terms of its social and economic contribution to remote rural areas, not to mention the environmental contribution it makes through the provision of public goods such as landscape and biodiversity conservation. Economic and structural difficulties do not help the sector's growth and this means that the EU is not self-sufficient but relies on imports to top up supply to its market for sheep and goats. The sector's traditional and emerging needs and the need for policy measures to address them are at the core of an own-initiative report due to be voted during the May I plenary session.

What if all our meat were grown in a lab?

17-01-2018

Laboratory meat is grown from a small number of cells taken from a live animal and placed in a growth medium in a bioreactor where they proliferate independently. If meat cultured in this way became widely available, it could significantly alleviate the environmental problems currently caused by livestock production - such as greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution of waterways - without requiring humans to alter their consumption patterns. This publication provides an overview of the potential ...

Laboratory meat is grown from a small number of cells taken from a live animal and placed in a growth medium in a bioreactor where they proliferate independently. If meat cultured in this way became widely available, it could significantly alleviate the environmental problems currently caused by livestock production - such as greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution of waterways - without requiring humans to alter their consumption patterns. This publication provides an overview of the potential impacts of laboratory meat on environment, public health and farming, and makes suggestions for anticipatory policy-making in this area.

The sheep and goat sector in the EU: Main features, challenges and prospects

31-08-2017

Sheep and goats grazing on meadows in the countryside are part of the landscape and cultural heritage of many European countries. They are a source of employment in disadvantaged agricultural areas and the high-quality traditional products they yield are broadly recognised as the result of a sustainable and multifunctional form of agriculture that contributes to preserving the environment and social cohesion in rural areas. Yet, the EU sheep and goat sector has been experiencing economic and structural ...

Sheep and goats grazing on meadows in the countryside are part of the landscape and cultural heritage of many European countries. They are a source of employment in disadvantaged agricultural areas and the high-quality traditional products they yield are broadly recognised as the result of a sustainable and multifunctional form of agriculture that contributes to preserving the environment and social cohesion in rural areas. Yet, the EU sheep and goat sector has been experiencing economic and structural difficulties in recent decades, mainly involving a consistent decrease in livestock numbers, following outbreaks of contagious diseases and policy changes in public funding schemes. With a population of about 98 million animals and a production that accounts for a small share of the total EU livestock output, the sheep and goat sector does not ensure self-sufficiency. That is why the EU is among the world's main importers of sheep and goats, mainly from New Zealand and Australia. Moreover, as sheep and goat farming is among the less remunerative agricultural activities, it does not encourage investments or new entrants from younger generations of farmers. Several EU-level policy instruments are available for providing support to this sector in its capacity to deliver both food and public goods, such as landscape and biodiversity conservation. However, considering its low profitability and the fact that production is mostly located in less favoured areas, EU stakeholders are recommending the inclusion of specific policy measures in the framework of current discussions on the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020, as well as the adoption of communication and promotion measures to strengthen the position of the sector in respect of EU consumers' choices.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - February 2017

13-02-2017

The Monthly Highlights newsletter features publications on EU cattle sector, Brexit, Russia, drug policy, EU agencies and structural and investment funds.

The Monthly Highlights newsletter features publications on EU cattle sector, Brexit, Russia, drug policy, EU agencies and structural and investment funds.

What if animal farming were not so bad for the environment?

08-02-2017

What options exist, especially in terms of new technologies, for reducing the carbon footprint of the livestock industry, how effective might they be, and what could be done to encourage their implementation? The livestock industry is responsible for around 14.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. The magnitude of this percentage is due to the emission of large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, which both result in greater global warming than carbon dioxide per gram of gas released. The main ...

What options exist, especially in terms of new technologies, for reducing the carbon footprint of the livestock industry, how effective might they be, and what could be done to encourage their implementation? The livestock industry is responsible for around 14.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. The magnitude of this percentage is due to the emission of large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, which both result in greater global warming than carbon dioxide per gram of gas released. The main cause of livestock methane emissions is the digestive process in ruminants, such as cattle and sheep. In these animals, food is fermented, generating methane which is burped out. Nitrous oxide is generated through the application of fertilisers for animal feed production. This is also the case with crops grown for human consumption, but, as most of the energy stored in crops is lost when they are fed to animals, emissions due to fertilisers are much greater per calorie of animal produce than of plant produce. Both gases are produced by the storage of manure and its application as a fertiliser. In addition, carbon dioxide is emitted through burning fossil fuels for purposes such as fertiliser production, operation of farm machinery and transport of goods.

The Agriculture of the Azores Islands

15-10-2015

This study was drawn up for the delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to the Azores Islands (Portugal) in November 2015. It consists of: an introduction presenting the key demographic and political data; an overview of the Islands' regional economy; a specific chapter on agriculture; lastly, ongoing rural development programmes and those supporting agriculture in the outermost regions of the Azores are described.

This study was drawn up for the delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to the Azores Islands (Portugal) in November 2015. It consists of: an introduction presenting the key demographic and political data; an overview of the Islands' regional economy; a specific chapter on agriculture; lastly, ongoing rural development programmes and those supporting agriculture in the outermost regions of the Azores are described.

Cloning of animals kept and reproduced for farming purposes

02-09-2015

In 2013 the European Commission proposed a directive according to which Member States would temporarily ban the use of the technique of cloning in mammals used for farming purposes. The EP is now set to adopt its first reading position on the dossier, based on a report drawn up jointly by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Supporting such a ban, albeit through a regulation rather than a directive, the two ...

In 2013 the European Commission proposed a directive according to which Member States would temporarily ban the use of the technique of cloning in mammals used for farming purposes. The EP is now set to adopt its first reading position on the dossier, based on a report drawn up jointly by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Supporting such a ban, albeit through a regulation rather than a directive, the two Committees envisage extending it to all animal species used for farming purposes. The report also proposes to prohibit imports of any products, notably food, derived from cloned animals and their descendants. Possible restrictions on imports of cloned-animal-derived food in the EU are the subject of a parallel proposal by the Commission for a Council directive.

Organic production and the European Union

16-02-2015

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand ...

Organic agriculture views itself as respecting natural cycles by refraining from the use of genetically modified organisms, by limiting the use of synthetic chemical products and by ensuring animal welfare. Organic production, regulated and supported at EU level, is controlled, certified and labelled. The specifications list also adapts to different kinds of production. Initially a niche market, organic agriculture now represents a European market worth more than EUR 22 billion a year, with demand continuing to increase. The organic sector, seeking a vision for the future, must respond to certain challenges, particularly in its coexistence with conventional agriculture, but also in terms of producer and consumer confidence in the system and its values, in a context of growing international exchanges. In March 2014, the European Commission proposed to revise the entire legislative framework of the organic sector, in particular with the aim of reducing the current derogation practices, reviewing the control system and the import regime, simplifying the legislation and cutting down on the red tape. Some initial reactions to these proposals seem rather critical. The first reading legislative appraisal has started in the European Parliament, but the announcement of the new "Juncker Commission" of its intention to withdraw this proposal by mid-2015 should an agreement not be reached by then could change the context.

Kommande evenemang

25-01-2021
Public Hearing on "Gender aspects of precarious work"
Utfrågning -
FEMM
26-01-2021
Public hearing on Co-management of EU fisheries at local level
Utfrågning -
PECH
26-01-2021
The impact of Brexit on the level playing field in the area of taxation
Utfrågning -
FISC

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