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Animals farmed: US ends UK beef ban, chicken culls and 12-storey pig farms

Welcome to our monthly roundup of the biggest issues in farming and food production, with must-read reports from around the webThe US has imported British beef for the first time since banning it in 1996 after the BSE outbreak. In 1996, scientists linked BSE found in cattle to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. The UK government said the restarted US beef trade could be worth an estimated ?66m in export opportunities for farmers over the next five years. Taiwan is to lift its restrictions on the use of the chemical growth hormone ractopamine in imported pork, opening the door to an increase in US pork meat imports. The ban on its use in domestic animal feed in Taiwan remains. Ractopamine, which can improve growth rates, is banned by almost every country except the US. The Humane Society of the US states that it causes lameness, stiffness, trembling and shortness of breath in animals. Outbreaks of Covid-19 continue to appear at meat plants with reports of a "significant outbreak" at an Irish plant run by Dawn Meats. Testing had been temporarily suspended at meat plants in Ireland earlier this month because of shortages. Although it would not comment on the reported outbreak, Dawn Meats told the Irish Times that it would inform authorities of any positive tests, pay workers required to self-isolate, and that all its facilities would undergo weekend deep cleaning. There continue to be a number of outbreaks at food plants in the UK too. At least 400,000 chickens had to be culled after outbreaks of Covid-19 among staff at poultry plants in England and Scotland disrupted slaughterhouse routines.In the US, Smithfield Foods is reported to have been handed a $13,000 (?10,200) fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) for failing to protect employees at one of the largest pork plants in the country, after nearly 1,300 workers contracted Covid-19 and four died. Smithfield was forced to temporarily shut down the plant in South Dakota. The company dismissed Osha's findings as without merit and said it would contest them. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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