New Farm Animal Survey
We conducted a startling survey of Europe’s multibillion pound meat industry, revealing how it has become a global hotspot for outsourced labor, hiring thousands of workers through subcontractors , agencies and bogus cooperatives with lower wages and salaries.
Journalists Ella McSweeney and Holly Young have spent the past six months interviewing workers and insiders across the UK and the EU. They report that thousands of workers in some countries – many of whom are migrants – are precariously employed, some being paid 40 to 50 percent less than workers in the same factories.
“The system is sick all over Europe. It’s based on low meat prices, on the exploitation of labor, ”Enrico Somaglia, Deputy Secretary General of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, told them.
The survey revealed how migrant workers are supporting Ireland’s € 4 billion (£ 3.4 billion) meat industry; explored the conditions of temporary staff in meat factories in the Netherlands – Europe’s largest meat exporter; and asked if other countries would follow Denmark’s lead, which has achieved decent wages and conditions in the sector.
News from around the world
An Italian farmer producing Grana Padano cheese was fine of almost € 10,000 after an animal rights organization posted a video appearing to show “unthinkable conditions of neglect” allegedly taken on the dairy farm. The video prompted inspections by police and official vets who found several violations of animal welfare regulations. In A declaration, industry body Grana Padano Protection Consortium said that although animal welfare is not their responsibility by law, it has long insisted that dairies follow best practices. The consortium added that the case was not representative of Grana Padano’s production line.
At least 651,000 farm animal deaths have resulted in been bound to the “thermal dome” that settled over western Canada and the northwestern United States for five days in June – killing more than 500 people and contributing to wildfires. Although the weather event was unprecedented, animal welfare groups say more should have been done to protect the animals. Industry organizations and farmers say growers are bracing for episodes of extreme heat.
Consumers are encouraged to purchase different sized eggs after laying hen study found ‘huge animal welfare problem’. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen examined 4,800 hens and found that nearly 4,100 had fractured keel bones (part of a bird’s breastbone). They concluded that the fractures were due to the hens being bred to be smaller while producing larger eggs, and that this was a global problem encountered in almost all production systems, including in organic and outdoor birds.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed to ban the consumption of dogs in the country, his office said. Meat has long been a part of South Korean cuisine, with around 1 million dogs reportedly eaten each year. But consumption has declined as more and more people are living with dogs as pets – including the president – and the practice is somewhat taboo among the younger generations.
Farmer Ownership of Word ‘Meat’ Challenged in Australian Senate food labeling survey. The investigation, chaired by Senator and former butcher shop owner Susan McDonald, examines whether labeling should be changed to better identify plant-based products. McDonald’s said manufacturers of meat substitutes should not trade in long-established animal protein names and instead come up with their own terms.
The government has announced it will issue up to 10,500 temporary visas in the UK for truck drivers and poultry workers in a bid to alleviate the supply chain crisis. Pig farmers have warned that supply chain issues could force them to “Slaughter their own animals” get rid of it – there has already been on-farm slaughter reports.
Felicity Lawrence argued that worsening conditions in supply chain jobs, such as slaughterhouses and meat factories, made UK shortages inevitable.
Changes to agricultural regulations that will allow field trials of genetically modified crops in England have been announced by the government. This will be followed by plans to allow greater use of gene editing in crops – and potentially animals too – in the UK.
A single case of BSE has been confirmed on a farm in Somerset. The infected animal had died and had been removed from the farm, said the Animal and Plant Health Agency, which added that there had been five confirmed cases of BSE in the UK since 2014, all on animals not intended for humans. food chain and poses no risk to the public.
Eighteen celebrities – including musician Billie Eilish and actress Alicia Silverstone – have signed a letter urging world leaders to address the impact of animal agriculture on the climate crisis at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. Meanwhile, a Labor MP has claimed the most farming would be phased out over the next 20 years due to the need to meet UK net zero targets. The UK meat industry has progress made in its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and food waste, according to a new report from the charity Wrap.
Share your stories and comments
Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on the series with us. Many readers responded to our survey of working conditions in meat processing plants in Europe, including Peter Dempsey, who said: “You are probably familiar with Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, written over a century ago. Nothing has changed.” While another reader said: “The title of the series could be ‘Raising People’ actually.”
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