A two-year campaign to underline the multiple benefits of the EU livestock and meat industry has been launched by Copa and Cogeca, with a special focus on the nutritious value of eating beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry and eggs, goat-meat and rabbit.
“The nutritious benefits of eating (all these items) are all too clear, providing consumers with a good source of protein in their diet,” said Copa president, Martin Merrild, adding that livestock farming is also crucial for the economies of rural areas where often no other source of employment exists.
“But we are up against increasing challenges, with commodity prices at an all-time low and input costs on the rise. The EU is also accelerating free trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur which is expected to hit the EU agriculture sector hard, even though imports from these countries do not meet the EU’s high environmental, safety and welfare standards.”
The campaign therefore aims to increase awareness of the EU’s high production standards, while also underlining the benefits that flow from Europe’s livestock and meat sector.
Cogeca vice-president, Thomas Memmert, used the campaign launch event in Brussels to highlight the role of agri-cooperatives in helping farmers to pool their resources and to get a better price for their produce.
“Agri-cooperatives give their farmer members advice on how to improve their economic, environmental and social performance, defining action plans to optimize production standards,” he said, pointing out that in the face of being “squeezed by a handful of retailers”, farmers needed to work together to combat unfair practices in the food chain and get better returns for their produce.
The launch event also included a strong pork sector element with media guests being treated to iberico ham from Spain, provided by the country’s pigmeat promotion body, Interporc.
Copa & Cogeca also announced that, together with leading EU agri-food, veterinary, road transport and animal welfare groups, it was are putting together voluntary initiatives for the pork sector to ensure even higher animal welfare standards.