“Increasing animal welfare standards has a direct impact on the cost of production”

Miguel Angel Higuera, Director of ENPROGAPOR, participated in a roundtable on animal welfare and economic profitability within an event held in Brussels.

Yesterday the event “Call to Care for Animal Welfare” organized by the Belgian Presidency on Animal Welfare took place in Brussels, where Miguel Ángel Higuera, Director of ENPROGAPOR, represented the Cogeca Cup (Brussels) as Chairman of the Committee on Animal Health and Welfare. The group that does it. The title of the roundtable was “Animal Welfare and Economic Profitability”, and in addition to Miguel Ángel Higuera, Andrea Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit, Directorate of Preparedness for Food, Animal and Plant Crisis, DG SANTE; Reneke Hameliers, CEO Eurogroup for Animals; Andrea Rusman, head of food transitions at The Impact Institute; and Nadine Buys, Vice-President of the Flemish Council AW – Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, KU Leuven.

The research institute “Food Transition at the Impact Institute” has been hired by Eurogroup for Animals to conduct its own study on the economic impact of future welfare regulations in Europe. However, COPA COGECA has also conducted an in-depth study on this matter. None of the three prestigious European universities were invited to the roundtable to evaluate the economic impact of animal welfare.

It was about how improving animal welfare in the EU could be balanced with the profitability of farms, to which Higuera commented: “We cannot ignore that EU livestock production is a major threat to the world market. The loss of European production due to excessive legislative pressure, will be immediately replaced by imports with lower standards.” He also stated that “Increases in animal welfare standards have a direct impact on the cost of production, which may lead to the farmer having to decide whether or not to continue his activity. If the price increase to the consumer is passed down to the farmer through the chain cannot be reached, it will not work.

For his part, the Director of the Eurogroup for Animals clarified that it is necessary for meat to increase its price, but from the point of view of the producer whose objective is to provide food to the population, the price cannot be allowed to become a limit. For access to high quality protein. In this sense, Miguel Ángel Higuera had to clarify: “We support that food should be affordable for all social categories. Attacking livestock production so that meat or dairy products become unaffordable for many people is not acceptable. And is a classist idea. Besides, anyway, it will make imports cheaper.”

One of the challenges is for the population to know first-hand what the care of farm animals is like and what efforts hundreds of farmers put in on their farms every day, and this is shown by the latest Eurobarometer, where 84% of European citizens want more welfare. But only 6% are in contact with farm animals. Therefore, he explains that “it is clear that we need to communicate more about our daily efforts and hard work for animal welfare, as well as about biosecurity, or environmental and economic efficiency.”


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