For release 9th March 2007
Banned in Europe but promoted in Asia
As the world’s largest agricultural exhibition came to a close yesterday in Bangkok, the Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA), who were among the thousands of people attending the agricultural show, can reveal the alarming truth about some of the goods on offer.
Systems, such as battery cages for laying hens and sow stalls for pigs, that are banned or being phased out in Europe and North America due to their negative side effects, were being promoted for sale in Asia. Negative effects relate to food safety, antibiotic resistance, infectious diseases, and the impact on the environment and rural livelihoods.
In addition, the ACFA were shocked to see new broiler cage technology, which was developed in Europe and is currently being piloted in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
The Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA) commented: “The EU is introducing legislation to phase out industrial animal farming systems and regulations to properly govern the use of feed additives, supplements and antibiotics in agriculture. To accommodate this, research is being carried out into humane and sustainable systems such as free range and organic farming”. ACFA urges VIV to ensure better representation of these types of farming systems at all future VIV exhibitions.
“There are a number of problems that have emanated from industrial animal farming. Not least the effect it has on human health and animal welfare. Research in Europe and the United States has raised concerns in scientific literature about infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and pollution to land and drinking water”.
In 2003, the American Public Health Association (APHA) was so worried about the risks industrial animal farming systems posed to human health that they urged federal, state and local governments, and public health authorities to impose a moratorium on them until more research was carried out.
The availability of cheap meat has also been linked to the rise of obesity. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) obesity is now becoming a global epidemic. More than 300 million adults are obese and 115 million people in developing countries suffer from obesity related problems. Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers, thus placing a huge burden on a health care systems.
It’s not just human health that is at stake, industrial animal farming has a devastating effect on family and small-scale farmers, and rural communities. Industrial animal farming does not benefit the poor, profits are made by large corporations, and its products go to feed well-off urban populations.
The Asian Coalition for Farm Animals further stated: “It’s ironic, you would think cheap food would help alleviate hunger, but often it doesn’t. It devastates the livelihoods of local farmers, who then face the choice of migrating to cities to work in sweatshops. This migration actually drives down wages in urban areas, and increases the number of poor people in cities who cannot afford even cheap food”.
A further effect the people of Asia should be aware of is the effect industrial style livestock farming has on the environment. Keeping large numbers of animals in a small area leads to problems of waste disposal as well as disease potential. In the US for example, the amount of animal waste is 130 times greater than that of human waste, and it is not subject to the same level of waste treatment. Considering the significant hazards posed by this, ACFA was disappointed there was very little representation of this concern at the exhibition.
ACFA are calling for VIV organisers and sponsors to:
Encourage greater representation of good animal welfare systems;
Encourage uniform regulations to govern the sale of antibiotics, feed additives and supplement;
Give greater importance to environmental concerns associated with agriculture;
Make animal welfare an issue of integral importance in all future VIV exhibitions, lectures and promotional materials.
Although ACFA were discouraged by the number of industrial farming systems exhibited, the members were encouraged by one innovative sow management system which had been designed with animal welfare in mind. This commercially viable system offers the pig industry with an alternative to the conventional sow stall.
For further information, media interviews and/or pictures please contact one of the following members of the Asian Coalition for Farm Animals:
Jo Hee Kyung
Animal Freedom Korea
Tel: +82 (0) 11 416 3756
Yudisthira Swarga, Indonesia
Tel: +62 (0) 8133855396
Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan
Tel: +886 (0) 910 015 546
World Society for the Protection of Animals, Asia
Tel: +66 (0) 2513 0475
World Society for the Protection of Animals, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 7814 909 679
New broilers cages are 3 times more restrictive than conventional housing
EU and North America made sow stalls and farrowing crates on offer in Asia