Effects of retailer pressure on the efficiency of agricultural industriesIan J. Lean
SBScibus, 2 Broughton Street, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia. Email: IanL@sbscibus.com.au
Animal Production Science 53(11) 1143-1148 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN13178
Submitted: 15 July 2013 Accepted: 30 August 2013 Published: 23 September 2013
Considerable progress has been made in reducing starvation during the past century. This was achieved through increased use of arable land and adoption of new technologies. Future increases in food production will depend to a greater extent than in the past on the adoption of new technologies and must be even more rapidly achieved than in the past to meet the increase in demand for food. Intensive industries such as the poultry industry are under pressure from those engaged with a naturalistic fallacy. Technologies such as antibiotics for chickens or hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) for beef cattle that are safe for people, reduce environmental impacts of production, increase profits for producers, and improve animal well-being will be needed to achieve these increases in food production. The precedent set in the EU in banning HGPs can be understood as a response to the illegal abuse of diethylstilboestrol in the EU and as a non-tariff trade barrier to reduce the importation of beef from more efficient producers. The banning of antibiotics in the EU reflects the unwise application of a ‘precautionary principle’ through which risks were not soundly assessed. However, the unilateral ban established by Coles Supermarkets Pty Ltd on HGPs in Australia represents a more dangerous development, in which marketing ploys have been accorded a higher value than the care of animals, the environment, or the profit made by producers. Decisions such as these have reduced the viability of animal production in the UK and pose a threat to sustainable agricultural production in Australia.
Additional keywords: anabolic hormones, naturalistic fallacy, sustainable agriculture.
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