Memorandum submitted by the RSPCA (SFS 03)
RESPONSE TO EFRA CONSULTATION ON SECURING FOOD SUPPLIES UP TO 2050
The challenges facing the agricultural industry in meeting
future projected global demand for food need to be taken in the context of a
sustainable humane agricultural policy, which will include raising farm animal
welfare standards. The
RSPCA is pleased to respond to the consultation looking at what the challenges
The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy
The importation of products from outside the
The impact of the debate on greenhouse gases and its relationship with agricultural products
2. The CAP is at a critical stage in its on going evolution. The RSPCA agrees that the CAP needs to be reformed to provide support to farmers more efficiently and be responsive to consumer demands, which include assistance to improving animal welfare. Whilst welcoming the 2008 agreement on the Health Check the RSPCA believes that this agreement only tinkered around at the edges of the CAP and did not address the real reform which has to occur if the CAP is to be fit for purpose. The real debate on the future of the CAP will focus on the post 2013 period and has already started. The concern that some countries and interest groups will use the excuse of the need for increased food production to argue against transforming the CAP into a model for sustainable agriculture was highlighted in the autumn of 2008 when the French Presidency issued such a document on the future of the CAP. This proposed the need for new instruments to support production and that the Single Farm Payment is no longer fit for the new challenges being faced, although it is only three years old.
3. The RSPCA believes that the CAP can and should respond to the needs for increased and better (i.e. more humane) food production. These needs must be met by considering sustainability issues such as environment, animal welfare and landscape maintenance. This can only be done by shifting subsidies from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, where the majority of these targeted payments can be made. It also comes at a time when the Pillar 1 Single Farm Payment is a relic of the old CAP and only seems to deliver a blunt method of payment to farmers that is not targeted either at delivering a sustainable agricultural model or indeed at securing increased food security (hence the French proposal to return to the unreformed CAP where payments where made to farmers simply to produce more and protect farmers from the vicissitudes of global farm prices, particularly on grain. This model resulted in the infamous wine lakes and butter mountains of the 1970s and 1980s and is outdated. At present Pillar 1 payments represent 77% of CAP payments.
4. The terms of the CAP have not changed in over 50 years. The original aim, under the Treaty of Rome, namely to maximise the production of agricultural products has not been altered although debate on agreeing aims for a 21st century CAP started in the past few years. The pro-reform group, which includes the UK but is still a minority of States of the EU-27 want a CAP that delivers benefits to farmers, consumers and is responsive to market demands and fluctuations.
5. There have not been any long term sectoral review studies in the EU on the economic consequences on a livestock industry of adjusting to lower levels of support whilst moving towards a less intensive system. However economic studies in New Zealand, which went from a heavily farm subsidised system to a non subsidised system in a relatively short time period found farm bankruptcies went up in the short term but in the long term it has not effected the global competitiveness of the farming sectors. Whether this model can be applied to the EU has not been tested and further work needs to be done particularly in light of the food security issue.
6. The CAP was successful in helping the
farming industry to increase output and put an end to food shortages in the two
decades after its establishment. However, this increase in production came at
the price of an intensification of farming, with negative consequences for
animal welfare, biodiversity and the environment. Two examples will be given. The
average milk yield of the dairy cow in the
7. Over the past ten years in particular
EU scientific reports have demonstrated that the welfare of animals contained
in intensive systems has been compromised. EU farm ministers have responded to
this by deciding measures to reduce the rate of intensification albeit at a
sector policy level rather than at a CAP level. Directive 1999/74 bans the
unenriched battery cage, a decision agreed in 1999 and finally confirmed during
the French Presidency in 2008. Regulation 2001/88 will phase out the sow stall
system in the EU by 2013, though it was made illegal in the
8. So any debate on
food security needs to look at the flexibility and direction of global trade
9. There are a number of studies showing this relationship and its effect on competitiveness. In the egg sector, there will be an economic consequence of raising welfare standards under Directive 1999/74. Moving from the standard in 1999 this equates to a price differential of about 11p/dozen eggs moving to the enriched cage system, 15p moving to a barn multi-tier system or 36 p/dozen eggs moving to a free range system. Economic research on laying hen standards in the third world countries expected to export to the EU shows that standards are more intensive than the 750 cm2 space allowance per bird that will apply from 2012 in the EU. It reveals a competitive advantage from the main exporting countries. Those using a standard of 350 cm2 would have a price advantage in the trade in dried eggs of 3p before any changes in the DDA are enacted. Any agreed changes in tariff reduction will decrease the competitiveness of the EU egg industry.
10. Similar economic
analysis has occurred in the broiler sector
and the pig sector.
In the broiler sector, economic analysis shows that there will be a 11%
increase in cost of production from the present broiler stocking density of 38
kg live wt/2 to a reduced stocking density of 30 kg lw/m2.
This equates to an annual cost to
is an issue that needs to be addressed as, despite the failure to date of the
Doha Development Round negotiations after eight years, it is likely that during
the next 10 years agriculture will become more open to global competition as
tariffs are reduced. Bilateral agreements will fill the vacuum of any WTO
failure. The EU is currently discussing bilateral agreements with ASEAN,
12. The European Commission has made it clear that it is committed in bilateral trade negotiations to ensuring the issue of higher welfare standards are addressed in such agreements. The existing agreements which have language contained in them on ensuring compatibility in animal welfare standards and could be a useful model of how to ensure that the twin goals of improving animal welfare and trade liberalisation can occur in parallel.
final part of the jigsaw is the effect of greenhouses gases and climate change
both on and from farming which has created new challenges for policy demands. This
is in the early stages of being tackled and its implications on food security
is an area still being looked at. The 2008 report from the Committee on Climate
Change placed agricultural emissions in the
14. The RSPCA believe that further research is required in the area of assessing the impact of different diets or farming methods on specific greenhouse gas emissions, and also ensuring that any mitigating effects arising from policy decisions should be proofed against effects on animal welfare and the environment.
European Parliament's Committee on Climate Change in their December 2008 report
again recognises that the cultivation of cereals and soya as feed for livestock
is responsible for substantial greenhouse gas emissions, and asks for a switch
from intensive livestock production to extensive sustainable systems. However
this switch, which the RSPCA would support, is incompatible with the present
increases that are occurring in total global meat consumption and in particular
the rises in poultry and pig production in developing countries such as
16. However the 2005 report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, whilst recognising that livestock ruminants particularly those in developing countries produced large amounts of greenhouse gasses which was unsustainable, called for a reduction in livestock greenhouse gasses by proposing the reduction would be achieved by the intensification and industrialisation of livestock production as the long term outcome. Clearly some policy direction is required.
majority of the
18. The dairy and beef herd example shows clearly the conflicting effects between the CAP reform, combating reduction in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, improving animal welfare and providing for food security.
decline in the
20. Finally the current economic climate has given some useful information on consumers' reactions to higher welfare food and organic food. Organic food has seen a slump by about 20% in the past year (2007/8) and is projected to drop a further 50% by 2010. This seems to be related to the current economic situation and anecdotal information suggests that shoppers are moving away from organic meat products into higher welfare products such as Freedom food. This may be related to price (Freedom food products are priced invariably between baseline standards and organic standards) but no qualitative work has been done on this.
21. To date the economic climate doesn't seem to be acting on Freedom Food sales which seem to be holding up and in some areas such as chicken, pigs and eggs are reporting year on year growth in numbers of animals covered (2007/8) of 25%, 13% and 6% respectively. It isn't clear yet if this divergence between sales in organic and Freedom Food will continue into 2009, though it is expected that sales of Freedom Food chicken and pigs will remain robust on the back of the Channel 4 programmes on food due to air in January. The RSPCA believe that these data show that consumers still choose higher welfare products in economically challenging times and underlines the importance of provenance in food to consumers.
conclusion, it is unclear how the UK Government, which is committed to trade
liberalisation, a strong British agricultural sector to meet increasing global
demand and raising welfare standards will ensure that these difficult and
possibly conflicting relationships will be effectively addressed. The
 Walker et al 2005. Limits to performance of poultry in
Sylvester-Bradley & Wiseman Yields of farm species constraints and
opportunities in the 21st century.
 The Case against Cages 2005 RSPCA, Hard boiled Reality 2001 RSPCA
 The economic consequences for the
broiler industry of legislatively enforced reductions in maximum stocking
density. Centre for Rrual Research,
 Effect of higher welfare standards on the costs of producing beef and pork in the EU. Bondt et al 2004 Agricultural Economics Research Institute The Hague.
 FAO world report 2008
 Steinfield H, Gerber P, Wassenaar T, Castel V, Rosales M & de Haan C. 2006. Livestock's long shadow: environmental issues and options. FAO
 Eurostat 2008
 DairyCo Datum 2009