A number of major changes have been announced at the meeting in the commission; however the process of the approval of the legislations will be long. To give a small introduction, the CAP consists of two pillars; the first being direct support to EU farmers for all farming activity and the second pillar being the support from the European Commission for rural development in EU.
EFBA will sum up the most essential points from the CAP meeting in the following.
The headlines in the new CAP is as following:
- More targeted income support in order to stimulate growth and employment
- More responsive and adequate crisis management tools in order to meet new economic challenges
- 'Green' payments for long-term productivity and for preserving ecosystems
- Additional investment in research and innovation
- A more competitive and balanced food chain
- Encouraging agri-environmental initiatives
- Aid for young farmers setting up
- Rural employment and entrepreneurship stimulated
- Better account taken of fragile areas
- A simpler and more efficient CAP
The more significant headlines to point out are the greening of the first and the second pillar in the CAP. Firstly, this will include 30 % of the direct aid to farmers who have turned to environmentally friendly agriculture. According to the commission, this will encourage European farmers to focus on more crop diversification, maintenance of permanent pasture and preservation of ecological reserves and landscapes.
Another very important matter is the decrease of the direct aid in pillar 1. The Commission wishes to target the income support more in order to provide employment and stimulate growth. This means that the financial aid will only affect active farmers and the direct payment will reduce gradually from 150.000 EUR with a ceiling of 300.000 EUR per farm per year.
Thirdly, the CAP will increase the budget for R&D in pillar 2 and according to Dacian Ciolos; the agriculture in EU will become more technology-based, produce more but in the same time, produce better. Therefore the budget for research and development will double and come up to over 4,5 billion EUR.
However, as the CAP was presented, it became clear that it was not well accepted from all sides. The German and the French consuls have already made clear that the 30 % of financial aid spent on greening development is unacceptable. Furthermore, many member of the European Parliament raised doubt regarding the budget, the increased bureaucracy, the lack of competitiveness the CAP could bring, and the increase of direct aid in pillar 1.
The CAP will now be followed up with debate in the European Parliament and the Council. The approval of the different regulations and implementing of the acts is expected by the end of 2013. This will make the CAP reform take place as from the 1st of January 2014.
With the new central-left wing government in place in Denmark, a new agricultural minister has been appointed. Mette Gjerskov, 45 is no complete stranger to the agricultural field as she, for a number of years, has been working as a civil servant in the Ministry of Food & Agriculture and the Department for Consumer Protection on biotechnology. One of the main policies that will be proposed by the agricultural ministry and the new government will be a reduction of the greenhouse gas emission in Denmark by 40% by year 2020 from 1990 levels. Furthermore, they will strive to cover half of Denmark's electricity needs by renewable energy, also by year 2020.
Introduction of a new "fat tax" in Denmark
However, it is not as much the new government that brings Denmark to everybody's lips as the new "fat tax" they have implemented. Denmark is the first country in the world to impose a tax on saturated fat in food like butter, cheese, pizza etc. and the objective is to tackle the rising rates of obesity.
The tax will count on product with more than 2, 3% saturated fat and the consumer will have to pay
2, 15€ per kilogramme of saturated fat.
The news of the fat taxes has hit the entire world and the political world is now waiting to see if other countries will follow Denmark's lead. So far, Finland and Romania have shown a great interest in the matter.
A new agricultural minister in Denmark and also the Danish government introduces a tax on saturated fat.
16 scientists and veterinarians from all over Europe settled into their seats at 08.00 in EFBA's office Wednesday the 28th of September to discuss the progress of EFBA's comprehensive welfare protocol "WelFur".
Since the last meeting, the project has progressed very much. The first results have come in from the test farms and the different methods and results were examined at the meeting. The outcome of the testing has been very positive and all farms received a good score on the various measures. This means that the project does not only work in theory but also in practice.
The next step in WelFur now is the last testing and the implementation. The implementation will begin in the end of 2012.
The WelFur project will provide the entire fur industry with the same welfare protocol, which will give Europe even better standards on the fur farms and a larger incitement to fight the animal right extremists.
Together we stand stronger.
The campaign consists of outsized billboards showing Jean-Claude Van Damme (a Belgian actor) holding a manipulated dead mink and a text that reads “The victims”.
The billboards are placed in the 8 large cities in Belgium.
This outrageously false campaign against fur breeders will not be accepted by EFBA!
Today, EFBA will argue against every point in GAIA’s false accusations and together with The Belgian Fur Breeders Association, EFBA will do whatever it takes to make sure that the public gets informed of the dishonesty in GAIA’s campaign.
EFBA will keep their website and facebook updated on this case.
EFBA simply cannot accept that the animal rights extremists are allowed to show such misleading images of the fur farming industry. An industry with one of the most controlled animal welfare protocols in the world and with a long history of tradition and many family run businesses.
We will fight these extremists and remember: together we stand stronger.
Four different agricultural schools in Denmark have now made it much easier for young striving farmers to obtain greater expertise in mink farming. The schools are opening up for new specific educational lines within this specific agricultural field.
Asger Clausen, who is the responsible for the education on Dalum Agricultural School, says that currently there are great prospects for aspiring young mink farmers in Denmark as it is easy to overtake farms and the economy in the industry is very solid at the moment.
However, these proceedings are not all new to the educational system in Denmark, as Asmildkloster Agricultural School has been having a mink breeding program for 7 years. Keld Mikkelsen, principal of Asmildkloster Agricultural School, states that the mink programs provide the students with a wide knowledge of breeding, genetics, regulations, animal welfare etc. He also believes that it is essential to raise focus on these educational actions as it will increase the number of students on the programs and therefore also ensure a better work atmosphere.
All mink breeding programs at the four different Agricultural Schools will start in the beginning of September 2011.
The phenomenon of increased violence committed by some extremists in the name of animal rights is a growing cause for concern. In a major conference organised by Europol and Eurojust 58 experts from law enforcement and prosecution authorities, plus representatives from 35 private sector organisations, met last week at Europol\'s new headquarters in The Hague to discuss the issues behind this new trend.
EFBA was among the private sector. The chair of EFBA together with other member of the board as well participated at the conference. A presentation about our sector and our problems with the animals rights activists has been given by the managing director of EFBA, she did a splendid job with her presentation in front of the all assembly. Good contacts were being made. Enclosed this article, the press release made by Europol together with Eurojust.
Marnix Van Laecke, the president of the Belgian Fur Breeders' Association, introduced the Belgian press to his world, the fur industry. A positive view of the sector!
The new register will combine the two institutions' existing ones. It concerns all organisations whose activities aim at influencing the policy and decision making processes of the EU. This includes business lobbyists, think tanks and NGOs, and also churches and lawyers. By registering , organisations or individuals agree to make public not only basic information about themselves but also details on their activities in the EU institutions, the number of people involved as well as financial figures on activities that fall within the scope of the register. To implement the system, EP and Commission services will establish a "transparency register secretariat". The setting up of a joint register enables all information to be found in one place and means that interest representatives only need to register once. The agreement on a joint transparency does not make registration mandatory although this remains the ultimate objective of several MEPs.
Twelve animal rights activists were arrested this morning by the Spanish police, in a series of raids sanctioned by the judge from the Magistrate's court, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. Arrests and house searches of activists from the organisations Igualdad Animal/Animal Equality and Equanimal took place in the regions of Madrid, Asturias, Vizcaya and Galicia. The detained activists were then taken to Santiago de Compostela court, where they were accused of offences against the environment, public disorder, and criminal association. The origin of the investigations appears to be centred on the seemingly intentional release of 20,000 minks from the farm Visones Bermúdez, located in Santiago de Compostela, in November 2007, which would indicate the damage to the environment.
The delegation agreed on the main principles but argued over either objectives or proposed actions. In the end, the ministers reached a compromise: the strategy and its objectives have been adopted but not the actions and the terms of its "efficient and coherent" implementation.
The strategy proposes six objectives:
1. fully implementing Community legislation
2. maitaining and restoring ecosystems and services
3. improving the integration of agriculture and forests in preserving biodiversity
4. sustainable use of resources
5. combating invasive alien species
6. an international chapter (as a result of the Nagoya conference on biodiversity in November 2010)
Regarding the climate, a debate started on the road map, for a low-carbon economy. The Council, having fixed a long-term objective (2050) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95%, asked the Commission to present it with intermediary objectives.
PETA's "Animal Record" report for 2010, which the animal rights group itself filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shows that PETA employees killed 94 percent of the dogs and cats in their care last year. During all of 2010, PETA found adoptive homes for just 44 pets.
Why would PETA, an "animal rights" group, secretly kill animals at its headquarters? From a cost-saving standpoint, PETA's hypocrisy isn't difficult to understand: Killing adoptable cats and dogs-and storing the bodies in a walk-in freezer until they can be cremated-requires far less money and effort than caring for the pets until they are adopted.
PETA has a $33 million annual budget. But instead of investing in the lives of the thousands of flesh-and-blood creatures in its care, the group spends millions on media campaigns telling Americans that eating meat, drinking milk, fishing, hunting, wearing leather shoes, and benefiting from medical research performed on lab rats are all "unethical."
The bottom line is that PETA's leaders care more about cutting into their advertising budget than finding homes for the six pets, on average, that they kill every single day.
PETA has ceased being an animal charity. It's behaving more like a slaughterhouse.
"I am particularly glad to announce that today the Commission has completed its negociations with Croatia,", Enlargement Commissionner Stefan Füle said on 10 June. Now the ball is in the members' state court. It is up to the Council to formally approve the Commission's position, paving the way for Croatia to join EU on 1 July 2013, the date proposed by the EU executive.
10 June: Council to launch discussions towards reaching unanimity on last four draft common positions
21 June: EU-Croatia intergovernemental conference (IGC) to close some of the remaining chapters
23-24 June: European Council to give the political green light to Croatia's accession on 1st July 2013
Second Half of 2011: Accession Treaty to be signed and ratification process to be launched
At the latest 30 days after signature of the Accession Treaty Croatia has to hold a referendum on EU membership
1 July 2013: Croatia to join the Union
Through those brand new videos, our aim is to communicate about our 4 key messages: animal welfare is a top priority, fur is ethical: no difference between meat fur and wool, fur-farming is eco-friendly, european leadership: business principles. The videos will soon be on our website meanwhile you can watch them on Youtube and click on the links below:
-Animals, new sexy movie stars on the farm:
-Animals, now video celebrities: "Life is good on the farm"
-Fur-farming is eco-responsible and positive for nature, environment
-Fur animals and fashion, a world growing business
Don't hesitate to post a comment to give your feedback.
The draft resolution lists the following principles: objective criteria for fairer distribution of direct support, including employment; the introduction of a 100 % EU-financed "green" payment; more flexibility for member states; and a specific budget line for coping with market crises. For commitee members, this implies keeping the EU agriculture budget unchanged to give farmers motivation to meet these new challenges. "This resolution is a clear signal" to Commissionner Dacian Ciolos, who will be presenting legislative proposals for CAP reform by the end of the year, said Albert Dess (EPP Germany) who drafted the resolution. The draft resolution on CAP reform will be put to vote at the EP's pleanary session, on 22-23 June in Brussels.
Sweden urged the Commission on the 17th of May to accompany its forthcoming review of the current legislation on the welfare of animals in transport with new legislative proposals covering journey time limits, resting periods and space allowances. Swedish Farm Minister Eskil Erlandsson called on the Commission to accompany the report, scheduled for September, with plans to limit the transport of animals wherever possible to improve the conditions of animals in transit. Commenting on the swedish proposal, EU Health Commissioner, John Dalli emphasised his full recognition of the need for "further actions on enforcement and harmonisation".The Commission has therefore already started work on different initiatives to improve enforcement such as regular meetings with competent authorities and stakeholders.
Textile labelling will be more complete in the future thanks to the adoption of a new regulation on textile labelling by the European Parliament on the 11th of may. Its negotiators, led by Toine Manders (ALDE, Netherlands), obtained important concessions from member states on the labelling of fur and a feasibility study on origin labelling. Under the agreement, the statement "non textile parts of animal origin" must be placed on products that contain real fur or leather to enable consumers to identify these products. For this new labelling rules, such as those on fur content, there will be a transitional period of two and half years to give industry time to adapt.
Members of the European Parliament backed, on the 11 of May, the draft interinstitutional agreement (IAA) on the creation of a joint Commission and Parliament transparency register (formerly known as lobbyist register). The target date for the launch of the register is the end of June. It will not be mandatory and the Council, which is likely to issue a political declaration in support, will not join in. The joint register will be launched after the official signature by the Parliament and Commission during the second June plenary on 23-24. By registering, organisations agree to publish not only basic information about themselves but also details on their activities in the EU institutions, as well as financial figures on activities that fall within the scope of the register. To implement the system, EP and Commission services will establish a "joint register secretariat". A first step towards greater transparency!
The area of agricultural land dedicated to biodiversity-related measures under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) needs to be "maximised" by 2020, according to the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 published by the Commission (DG ENVI) on the 3rd of May.
The strategy comprises six priority targets and corresponding actions which seek to reduce the threats to natural capital. These include implementing the Birds and Habitats Directives, completing the Natura 2000 Network, establishing green infrastructure, restoring at last 15% of degraded ecosystems and controlling Invasive Alien Species, which are estimated to cause some € 12.5 billion worth of damage each year in the EU. The agricultural sector has its part to play, for example, incentivising farmers for the delivery of public goods, the inclusion of the Water Framework Directive within the scope of cross-compliance and quantifiable biodiversity targets under the second pillar.
Reacting to the Biodiversity 2020 Strategy, the EU farm lobby COPA-COGECA warns that such measures could make farmers uncompetitive, with Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen calling for greater financial support "to enable farmers to proceed in a way which is positive for biodiversity without endangering their viability, profitability and competitiveness".
The Belgian agricultural press was invited in February on a fur-farm in Nevele, midway between Bruges and Ghent. The aim of this EFBA organisation was to gain the confidence of the Belgian agricultural sector on fur-farming, which was often unfairly harmed in the recent past.
"In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes, and even handbags, this discussion of fur is childish" said the world wide known designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Belgium is divided in 2 major parts: Flanders and Wallonia. In Wallonia fur-farming does simply not exist. In Flanders, there are 19 well established fur-farms. Fur-farming in Belgium is a not-subsidized farming activity. Some farms are situated in the area Hansbeke-Nevele-Aalter and the other ones are spread all over Flanders. The visit took place on the farm owned by Kurt Dhoore in Nevele, a farm with about 4000 female minks.
The Belgian federation
Marnix Van Laecke, president of the Belgian wing of EFBA, called BEFFA (Belgian Fur Trade Federation) explains: "In Flanders, we produce mink skins. This sector is still growing and we expect and also hope for more farmers choosing this activity. Fur is more popular than ever and actually the Asian countries are very interested in our product".
Starting a farm
Some lobby groups criticised fur-farming and fur trade, and so, the image of this world-leading agricultural sector was harmed a lot.Now, the professional activity of the fur-farmer is surrounded by lots of scepticism."You can't "study" to become a fur farmer" tells Marnix Van Laecke."You can learn from a professional who's already established in the business, with the support of our federation. You need a minimum of 1500 female minks to generate an income and it is easy to convert the nutrients of a pig or veal breeding programme into minks" says the president of BEFFA.
There's also the possibility to use the existing farm buildings, considering the fact that there is enough fresh air and space to put disposals for the minks into it. Minks are carnivores and they are fully domesticated, so they can not survive alone our natural environment, just like horses can't survive in Flanders countryside, because there's no prairie available. Beef can't deliver our meat if you feed them only pasture, they need much, much more than that.
Europe as a world leader
EFBA works hard to inform and promote an objective image on fur-farming in the agricultural sector."It is time to answer to all the critics and tell our own story" explains EFBA Managing Director Françoise Hossay to the Belgian agricultural press. The European Fur Breeders' Association represents 21 national associations covering minks, fitches, foxes, finn raccoons and chinchillas.
The WelFur project started in 2010 and wants to guarantee ethical welfare practices in the fur farms, as it is already the fact for cows, pigs and other farm animals. All farm species are in need of good feeding, good housing and good health. The WelFur project is being carried out in co-operation with 8 universities worldwide, and the implementation phase at farm level took a start in 2011.
Visit of the farm
When you visit a mink-farm as an agricultural journalist, you can conclude almost instantly that you are visiting a breeding farm as any other one you've visited before. The animals are located in airy cages and they each have their "sleeping cage" with clean straw. One of the journalists was claiming the fact that the minks were in lack of space. In fact, they have proportionally more space in their cages than a grown-up bull (800 kg), stabled with 4 other ones, or a warm blood horse in a box of 3 x 3 m. When a mink meets a human, he thinks about food, such like any other farm animal. They are very mobile and active, making their own noises to prove their identity.
Farmer Kurt Dhoore mixes the food for his minks himself. It is made from meat, fish, corn and a mix of vitamins and minerals.
After the visit, you can tell everyone that those minks are snappy animals, relying completely on the farmer in a very pleasant way.
It's simply impossible to imagine a cleaner way of housing than this one: sheltered from rain and snow, a sleeping place on straw, and moving all day round out of the muck. The muck simply falls down and the minks don't walk, neither lay in it. "Living as a fur animal is not worse than living as any other farm animal" explains Prof. Dirk Lips. "They don't even know transportation stress, and everyone knows that this is a sticky problem! Minks are put to death in the farm with CO gas".
Our conclusion: In fact, it's just like they fall asleep. If another farmer could have such a peaceful possibility to put down his meat cattle, without the risky business called transportation! Considering the housing of the fur animals, they have fresh water at their disposition, with a constant temperature in winter and summer. In breeding terms: there is one mating period in a year and the skins of the pups are mature at six months of age.
You can get information on fur-farming in Belgium on www.pelsdieren.be. This is the site of BEFFA.
P.Borgenon, Agricultural journalist ABJA (Association Belge des Journalistes Agricoles)
EFBA welcomed a lot of guests in its Brussels office for its WelFur project for the last two days. The WelFur meeting started on the 15th of March and was dedicated to the fox. The nextd day, the mink was the center of attention. The objective was to design a scoring model to assess the welfare animals raised for their fur (mink and fox). EFBA places animal welfare as a top priority with its WelFur project. WelFur establishes high animal welfare standards for fur-farmed animals, based on independent, scientifically validated research. Scientists from all over Europe were present.
Although EU Countries showed different views regarding the Presidency Conclusions, an agreement has been found. While the UK labelled the Conclusions as "lacking ambition" and Sweden saying the Conclusions "put the reform-orientated direction that the Council has previously taken at risk", France welcomed them as "good signal" for the future EU farm policy. Despite the failure to secure Council Conclusions Hungarian Minister for Rural Devloment & current Council Chair, Sander Fazekas, announced that the Presidency had "made the impossible become a success". The main message is that a "Qualified Majority are in favour of a strong Europe". In specific terms, the only change penned in the final text is regarding "the need for a more equitable distribution if direct income support between Member State stepwise reducing the link to historical references and having regard to the overall context of the future EU Budget".
The evaluation, that provides a number of policy options for a future EU action plan on animal welfare, was completed in Dec 2010. The report notes that EU's animal welfare rules have helped reduce distorsions of competition on the internal market and have improved awareness among trade partners of the importance of animal welfare rules. But it also acknowledges the additional costs of the rules estimated at around 2% of the overall value of livestock output, whilst finding no evidence to suggest that the economic sustainability of these sectors has been threatened.
In addition, the Danish delegation called for more ambitious welfare measures regarding animal transport. Austria, Greece and Ireland recalled the disparity between EU Standards and 3rd Countries with the recommandation to implement existing animal welfare legislation before tabling new proposals.
Nowadays many associations and companies communicate through Facebook. Therefore, EFBA decided to launch its Facebook Page. EFBA invite fur-farmers, their friends and family, to become a Fan of EFBA Facebook page. Everyday something new happens in the fur-farming world. For that reason, fans will have the pleasure discover our last news, events, videos and photos! Facebook is an interactive platform where fans can participate and share their opinions, ideas and suggestions. Communicate through Facebook responds to our main objective: inform the public about the fur-farming industry in a total openness and transparency.
Last Friday 25th of March, it was the Federal elections in Ireland. Very big news, it is the Party \"Fine Gael\" (a Christian democratic and second largest political party in Ireland) who won the elections with 76 seats out of 165. They will have to build a coalition with the Labor Party most probably to go to the majority. The Green Party has 0 seats.
The proposed ban on mink farming is not part of the government programme and therefore history
EFBA successfully held its 1st 2011 press conference - in a fur farm - near Gent, with the presence of Dutch & Belgian media, from radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and specific agricultural newspaper.
Herewith some photos of the event ; media people were welcomed by Mrs Hossay (EFBA man. director), Mr Lips (prof in ethics), Mr Parmentier (belgian fur trade) and Mr VanLaecke (BEFFA).
The Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union wishes to build its political agenda around the human factor, focusing on four main topics: growth and employment for preserving the European social model; stronger Europe; citizen friendly Union; enlargement and neighbourhood policy.
From 1st January 2011, it is the task of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of European Union to shape the issues on the Agenda of the EU in line with the interests of the 27 Member States. In order to maintain the course amidst its many obligations, the Hungarian Presidency has defined the topics that it considers to be of outstanding significance. The Hungarian Presidency wishes to work along 4 priorities during the first half of 2011. Besides this, it intends to keep in the focus point the human factor, as the basis for intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth when dealing with all others issues ranging from the economy, through common policies to the issue of enlargement.
•Ø Growth and employment for preserving the European social model
•Ø Stronger Europe
•Ø Citizen friendly Union
•Ø Enlargement and neighbourhood policy
NEXT PRESIDENCY : POLAND as from July 1st, 2011.
Two new deputy directors General are set to take up their posts in the DG Sanco in the coming weeks & months, following a decision taken in mid-December. Both men will replace Paola Testori-Coggi who was appointed Director General of DG SANCO last April.
Ladislav Miko is expected to start in the new post on Jan 16. The 49-year old Czech holds a PhD in the field of systematic zoology & ecology from the Facutly of Science at Charles University in Prague. He previously served as Director of the Protecting Environment Directorate at DG ENVI.
Meanwhile, Martin Seychell will take up his post at the latest on April 1, 2011. Hailing from Malta, the graduate in chemistry & pharmaceutical technology has a broad background in food safety & chemicals legislation & previously served as Director for Environment Protection in the Malta Environment & Planning Authority.
DG SANCO officials have confirmed that Miko will be responsible for the Food Chain & Seychell for Consumers & Health.
EFSA issues animal transport recommendations: Adult cattle should not be transported on a journey of longer than 29 hours, while pigs exceeding 24hours should include feeling followed by 6 hours rest, according to a scientific opinion published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today. During journeys of 8 to 29 hours, cattle should be offered water during rest period, EFSA adds.
As regard the transport of sheep, EFSA criticizes current EU rules for not allowing them "to adopt their preferred spacing strategy", leading to a greater likelihood of falls. Current EU legislation for animal transport rules are provided for under Council Regulation No 1/2005 adopted on Dec 22, 2004. As previously signaled by EU Health Commissioner John Dalli last Easter, the Commission will present a review of the current animal transport legislation in the 2nd half of 2011 inc, scientific, social & economic aspects & the enforcement of current EU rules - possibly in October.