Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: bird flu  (Read 151536 times)

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: bird flu
« Reply #765 on: March 12, 2017, 10:45:56 am »
It isn't just chickens Womble it is animals in general that are moved around from country to country. We send weaners from the UK to be finished in europe and then they come back and depending on how long they "were away" they can be sold as british pork.


We are waking up but from a deep sleep that takes a long time. Antibiotic use being a good example.
 

ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #766 on: March 12, 2017, 11:26:26 am »
"Wow!" he exclaimed. "They've got feathers!!".

I'm sure I'm not the only one to well up at reading that - we really should hang our heads in shame at what we let happen to animals.

Poultry provide us with the cheapest animal protein available (baring perhaps the mechanically-recovered stuff in some sausages etc). I certainly think we can afford to improve the welfare of poultry without it hurting anyone financially. The difference in price between a cage-bird egg and a Waitrose Duchy Soil Association Organic egg is ~25p so even at minimum wage rates it only takes an extra 2 minutes of work to ensure the bird that provided our breakfast (and with it 25% of our daily protein) is very much better treated.

I don't think that is too much to ask of anyone.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 11:33:37 am by ColinS »
The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man - Darwin

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: bird flu
« Reply #767 on: March 12, 2017, 01:07:17 pm »
How can you improve welfare without a cost? And that is not meaning I don't think welfare can not be improved.


You say two minutes of someones time to improve welfare. Yes, that doesn't sound much but multiply that by 30,000 birds in one unit and it is a different picture.


Yes, we should be improving welfare but we also need supermarkets to pay the producers more and charge the customer more and I am afraid that is going to take more than your simple scenario.


We have seen big steps in animal welfare improvements and more should be done  but I think it is more complicated than we would like to believe and there needs to be a big shift from many players in the game.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: bird flu
« Reply #768 on: March 12, 2017, 01:51:49 pm »
<< .....and we're all addicted to cheap food.>>
But are we, Womble?  The supermarkets tell us so, to justify their methods, so 'we' believe them.  But do folk really notice if their milk is 5p cheaper in one supermarket than another?  Many do, but that doesn't mean all, and it certainly doesn't include me!  Yes, people will buy the cheapest chicken in the fridge, but if that cheapest chicken was twice the price, as it used to be, they would still buy it, because chicken is such a quick and cheap meal ingredient.  Sure they would moan about the cost of food, but they do anyway. The problem here is cheap imported meat from countries with lower welfare standards, undercutting meat from home, produced using much higher standards of health, welfare and hygiene, which undercut prices.  Controlling that is a job for Government, but of course they don't do it because they wouldn't get voted into power for another term if they did.
I do think we as a country and a world-wide race, need to rethink our values, which ultimately includes climate change, agricultural and animal husbandry methods, perhaps even encouraging a lower birth rate, contentious though that is. Growing our own veg on a family scale - allotments, garden share, scruffy patches in cities too small to build anything on, all over the world not just in the west. A major change would be for people to reduce the amount of meat they eat - goes right against the interests of farmers, but we have to think in worldwide terms, not parochially.  None of those measures will happen overnight.
Look at chef programmes on TV (or don't :D ).  It's all about slabs of undercooked meat, especially beef with a few bits of greenery sprinkled around to look pretty.  Where are the recipes using pulses or nuts as the main source of protein?  They are considered quirky, just for vegetarians and vegans, or one-offs. A couple of engaged, forward thinking chefs could help to swing public opinion there.  The habit of eating large amounts of meat, far more than our bodies need nutritionally seems to have spread here from the US, and we follow along slavishly.


We need to think far outside the box, to a world scale, and stop being so greedy as a nation.  Utopia doesn't work, as humans are basically too cantankerous to get on with eachother for long, but we could and should head towards at least a bit of sharing.


So, yes, keep all poultry in carefully policed free range systems, and overseas competition priced out by huge import taxes.  Done  ;D :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook:
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 01:54:01 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #769 on: March 12, 2017, 02:04:56 pm »
How can you improve welfare without a cost? And that is not meaning I don't think welfare can not be improved.

You say two minutes of someones time to improve welfare. Yes, that doesn't sound much but multiply that by 30,000 birds in one unit and it is a different picture.

Yes, we should be improving welfare but we also need supermarkets to pay the producers more and charge the customer more and I am afraid that is going to take more than your simple scenario.

We have seen big steps in animal welfare improvements and more should be done  but I think it is more complicated than we would like to believe and there needs to be a big shift from many players in the game.

Did I say there wasn't a cost? NO - I gave a figure based on what must be commercially competitive price differences.

The talk about a unit of 30,000 birds is irrelevant - someone is clearly able to provide Soil Association welfare (and other benefits) for an incremental end user cost of 25p/egg  - that is all we need to know.

Clearly government has to be the prime mover in this - @big soft moose has it totally right in post #763 when he said :-

“Speaking personally I could quite happily kiss off the industrial poultry industry which verges on inhumane anyway both in terms of the laughably named 'enrichment box' and in how the chickens are transported.  Yes eggs would be more expensive in that scenario, but on the other hand owners of free range or  loose barn flocks would not be continually undercut on price ”

Obviously this can only come about by legislation. Given that there has been much public pressure recently put on supermarkets to end cage-bird egg sales I believe this would have significant backing in the UK.
The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man - Darwin

big soft moose

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #770 on: March 12, 2017, 03:59:14 pm »
We are not talking about one wagon full that was recently spotted at a service station. That will be one of many since bird flu arrived here and we haven't had masses of outbreaks.

We have however had several outbreaks in  large housed units where the  infected chickens are not known to have had any contact with wild birds.  The introduction of infected birds from eastern europe would certainly be one explanation for that 


Yes, we can have a total ban on imports but at the end of the day what concerns people the most - losing their small back yard flocks or the impact on the egg and chicken industry?

Speaking personally I could quite happily kiss off the industrial poultry industry which verges on inhumane anyway both in terms of the laughably named 'enrichment box' and in how the chickens are transported.  Yes eggs would be more expensive in that scenario, but on the other hand owners of free range or  loose barn flocks would not be continually undercut on price


Several outbreaks in large housed units?  Have we? Take out the backyard flocks and the pheasant hatchery we are still in small, single numbers. Three I believe.


Where do you think the free range and loose barn flocks get their replacements from?

Indeed - and three is several...  plus the outbreaks in the last bird flu crisis that tracked back to imported turkeys from hungary.

In regard of where people get their free range birds since most free range flocks (excepting  Hen rescue derived ones ) are not warren hybrids the chances are they are not buying them from the huge commercial hatcheries in eastern europe.

Most people i know with chickens (including some quite large farming operations) are either operating closed flocks and breeding their own, or buying chicks/birds from British hatcheries

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: bird flu
« Reply #771 on: March 12, 2017, 05:20:55 pm »



Most people i know with chickens (including some quite large farming operations) are either operating closed flocks and breeding their own, or buying chicks/birds from British hatcheries



And some of our so called British hatcheries are in fact in partnership with European partners.

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: bird flu
« Reply #772 on: March 12, 2017, 05:44:40 pm »
Fleecewife is right: we need to review our diets in the Western world and eat less animal protein.

However the problem that a number have referred to is one of economics - which has been muddying the water of a discussion about avian flu control measures for a while. Breaking down the arguments being made keeps bringing us to a central point along the lines of "it would be better if they were British birds". I'm yet to see any convincing argument presented that this would definitely bring lower risks of avian flu - for the reasons already discussed.

As Womble says, we are, absolutely, just theorising. By all means let's debate the theories - it is interesting if nothing else. But we should let the agencies get on with their jobs and stop presuming that we know better because we have some theory of our own.

The problem of economics is worth consideration though. Whether we like it or not, some things can be done cheaper (and sometimes better too) elsewhere in the world. Tackling this is not straightforward and doesn't always achieve what you think it will. We also shouldn't forget that lots of e.g. our clothes and electronics are made by humans working in poor conditions in say Bangladesh or China. Does that impact on each of our decisions when we buy new overalls or phones in the same way the hen welfare issue is enlivening the debate here? If this is truly important then we need to be consistent in our behaviours.

And yes, a "high welfare" egg may well only cost 25p more per egg. But in the real world we have hundreds of thousands of people visiting food banks on a regular basis and I regularly see people who have to choose between heating and eating. I'm pretty sure they might have something to say about whether it is "too much to ask". We need to fix a whole lot about the way our societies and economies work if we want to right these wrongs - be they hen welfare or human working conditions.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: bird flu
« Reply #773 on: March 12, 2017, 05:52:47 pm »


The talk about a unit of 30,000 birds is irrelevant - someone is clearly able to provide Soil Association welfare (and other benefits) for an incremental end user cost of 25p/egg  - that is all we need to know.
Given that there has been much public pressure recently put on supermarkets to end cage-bird egg sales I believe this would have significant backing in the UK.



The someone is the supermarket. I wonder how much of the extra 25p per egg the farmer is getting.
The 30,000 bird unit I was thinking of is free range not caged and if they were paid 25p per egg by the retailer it would be several times more than he actually gets.





ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #774 on: March 12, 2017, 06:41:55 pm »
Well, I've been a director of companies with fingers in retail, distribution and manufacture and, if it's as bad as the game I was in I'd say that not much of the 25p ends up with the farmer - maybe 6p (like manufacturing, compared to the other two businesses, farming is a mugs game!). However, whatever it is someone seems to be able to make it pay which is the critical thing.

We in the UK consume about 12.5bn eggs/year so the 25p extra would amount to about £4.1bn more to consumers or about 13p/day per person. To put this in perspective, we currently waste food to the value of £13bn/year or about 55p/day per person or over 4 times what the welfare improvements would cost.
The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man - Darwin

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: bird flu
« Reply #775 on: March 12, 2017, 07:45:42 pm »
.....

As Womble says, we are, absolutely, just theorising. By all means let's debate the theories - it is interesting if nothing else. But we should let the agencies get on with their jobs and stop presuming that we know better because we have some theory of our own.

The problem of economics is worth consideration though. Whether we like it or not, some things can be done cheaper (and sometimes better too) elsewhere in the world. Tackling this is not straightforward and doesn't always achieve what you think it will. We also shouldn't forget that lots of e.g. our clothes and electronics are made by humans working in poor conditions in say Bangladesh or China. Does that impact on each of our decisions when we buy new overalls or phones in the same way the hen welfare issue is enlivening the debate here? If this is truly important then we need to be consistent in our behaviours.

And yes, a "high welfare" egg may well only cost 25p more per egg. But in the real world we have hundreds of thousands of people visiting food banks on a regular basis and I regularly see people who have to choose between heating and eating. I'm pretty sure they might have something to say about whether it is "too much to ask". We need to fix a whole lot about the way our societies and economies work if we want to right these wrongs - be they hen welfare or human working conditions.

eggs aside the economics of manufacture abroad nearly always fail not only on the aspects of worker conditions but also on the energy usage to transport, the relative quality and pollution of the manufacturing energy, the quality of waste disposal and very importantly the need to subsidise the unemployment that it causes here and the impact on fiscal trade balance (some 50bn a year in interest alone at the moment) those invisible aspects essentially become the public purse subsidising the UK seller, So paradoxically even if products made in UK are more expensive to produce they might cost us less. The game gets even stranger when the foreign power manufacturing those goods gains enough wealth to invest here and insinuate itself into our manufacturing base, utilities and property acquisition.

While 'globalisation' and interdependence might reduce conventional warfare (you don't want to hurt your customers physically or damage your target) instead the warefare is economics. You may not recognise it but it's a real war and greed and fashion and a belief in a right to foreign hols, latest cell phone or TV etc are leading us to lose in exactly the way that public greed and easy loans lead folk into the last financial crash and current low interest rates are leading us back.

ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #776 on: March 13, 2017, 09:37:06 am »
And yes, a "high welfare" egg may well only cost 25p more per egg. But in the real world we have hundreds of thousands of people visiting food banks on a regular basis and I regularly see people who have to choose between heating and eating. I'm pretty sure they might have something to say about whether it is "too much to ask". We need to fix a whole lot about the way our societies and economies work if we want to right these wrongs - be they hen welfare or human working conditions.

The latest figure (2015) for food banks is that 1.08 million 3-day food parcels were issued in that year. I'm sure there would have been far more if they could have been afforded. However, the £13bn/yr food wastage amounts to £13,000 for each food parcel. By reducing wastage by the order of 1% we could save the cost of all the food currently distributed this way.

Are you seriously suggesting that the continuance of chicken production in its current form is justified - something which Prof. John Webster of University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science described as "In both magnitude and severity, the single most severe example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal." simply because we can't find resources for both human and animal welfare that are a tiny fraction of our wastage?

With only a little effort in reducing waste we could afford to do both.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 09:55:55 am by ColinS »
The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man - Darwin

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: bird flu
« Reply #777 on: March 13, 2017, 11:21:30 am »
And yes, a "high welfare" egg may well only cost 25p more per egg. But in the real world we have hundreds of thousands of people visiting food banks on a regular basis and I regularly see people who have to choose between heating and eating. I'm pretty sure they might have something to say about whether it is "too much to ask". We need to fix a whole lot about the way our societies and economies work if we want to right these wrongs - be they hen welfare or human working conditions.

The latest figure (2015) for food banks is that 1.08 million 3-day food parcels were issued in that year. I'm sure there would have been far more if they could have been afforded. However, the £13bn/yr food wastage amounts to £13,000 for each food parcel. By reducing wastage by the order of 1% we could save the cost of all the food currently distributed this way.

Are you seriously suggesting that the continuance of chicken production in its current form is justified - something which Prof. John Webster of University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science described as "In both magnitude and severity, the single most severe example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal." simply because we can't find resources for both human and animal welfare that are a tiny fraction of our wastage?

With only a little effort in reducing waste we could afford to do both.


You keep coming back to the point that a little effort here and there will make a difference but you need lots of people to make that little bit of effort and that is a big job persuading people to do a little bit.


I think we all agree there are improvements that should be made to production and welfare and probably for most of us our small effort towards that is not buying caged eggs or intensively reared chicken.


Maybe you do more than that and actively support or lobby via a pressure group to make changes? I think it was fleecewife who suggested any such campaign needed a celebrity chef to be a chicken champion. Unfortunately, I suspect most shoppers don't give welfare any thought never mind actively seek any information about where their food comes from. We need to educate our children through school about these issues. Lots of them don't even know where an egg comes from let alone the life the chicken may have had producing it.


You mentioned the Duchy label, which is Waitrose. I don't even know where our nearest one is. For most people a supermarket will be ASDA, Tesco or Morrisons.


How many people on here, apart from avoiding caged eggs and intensive chicken meat, do anything more to make a difference?


I don't think that changes can't be made after all we have already seen better labeling and advertising to show the differences between caged, barn and free range. I just think it takes a bigger effort and joined up thinking between government departments to bring about.


Personally, yes I support better welfare conditions and will continue to do my little bit but would I do more? No, because there are hundreds of good causes out there and I already give my time to a couple and that is the other problem. It is one thing to agree something should be done and another to do something that counts.


Maybe Brexit is an opportunity or maybe it will be worse.

ColinS

  • Joined Dec 2016
Re: bird flu
« Reply #778 on: March 13, 2017, 12:01:36 pm »
I picked the Waitrose Duchy as the basis of the calculations because it is specified as Soil Association Organic. This is, amazingly, pretty much the only common standard which ensures the hens do not have their beaks lasered (free range and EU Organic standards still allow lasering of beaks). Obviously, it is a niche product and as such will have the supermarket loading it with all the extra per-unit margin that must attach to stocking a low-volume product so I feel it is a very safe indicator of what the maximum cost would be if our welfare standards were raised. Costs would reduce if it became a more widely adopted standard (the Duchy brand includes a donation to the Prince’s Trust which must inflate the price a bit!).

As for what more would people do, I think the will to improve standards in the UK is strong. Free-range & organic now account for 50% of UK egg consumption (the highest proportion in the EU) and over half the adult population of the UK feed wild birds so clearly there is a high proportion of us - perhaps even the majority, that have decided to pay the extra for better animal welfare.

Unfortunately, I think many are sold an image of free-range that actually belongs to the best Organic practice and of which free-range and EU Organic standards fall short. I believe if people in the UK were given the real picture the uptake of Organic eggs would be much greater. I, for one, was horrified that beak cutting was still a feature of free-range production and more so on finding the EU Organic standard permitted it.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 02:24:59 pm by ColinS »
The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man - Darwin

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: bird flu
« Reply #779 on: March 13, 2017, 12:23:31 pm »



<< Maybe you do more than that and actively support or lobby via a pressure group to make changes? I think it was fleecewife who suggested any such campaign needed a celebrity chef to be a chicken champion. >>


Not exactly - I was asking where the celebrity chefs are who promote non-meat meals eg pulse and nut based main courses, in an attempt to reduce our overall meat intake.  If these non animal products were made sexy, then more people would eat them.

Hugh F-W did a huge amount to open up meat chicken production methods and cruelties to the general public, but he seems to have wandered off somewhere.  Time for a comeback?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

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