La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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Social debates on livestock farming within five European countries

An analysis of the controversies about livestock farming was carried out in 2015 in five countries of the European Union (Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy) to evaluate how they differ between countries as well as the responses provided for and their impact on changes in farming methods and market segmentation. The study was based on a literature review and study tours in Germany, Denmark and Italy. They made it possible to collect the positions of thirty actors of livestock farming, research and NGOs. Our study confirm the existence of a gradient of societal concerns on livestock farming, from northern to southern Europe. Controversies are very active in northern Europe on many issues (animal welfare, public health, environmental impacts, farming models). They are much less in the southern countries, especially Spain. The rise of the protest, the guidance of research and public authorities, and the initiatives of industries, are leading to changes in animal husbandry practices in northern Europe, for a growing part of production, while maintaining competitiveness. The creation of private and public welfare labels are part of a broader movement within the EU for the creation of a mandatory label according to the mode of production of meat and milk, like that imposed for eggs by European regulation since 2003. This benchmarking study highlights the responsiveness of the northern European livestock sectors to the issues. France must ensure to be in the right tempo to respond to societal expectations. Competitiveness is also a matter of anticipation.


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