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Abandonment of castration without anaesthesia

Four months on from the outbreak of the pandemic and gives his assessment of the European milk policy

The second virtual event for international exchange between professional animal producers and agribusiness representatives was focussed on poultry. On Monday, 25 May, the 'Global Poultry Summit Webinar' organised by DLG attracted 130 farmers and experts from 25 different countries.

The three-and-a-half-hour webinar dealt with the rapid international development of the poultry sector and two of the central challenges involved in this: biosafety and the reduction of antibiotics. In five short presentations, top representatives of the poultry industry from Germany, Russia, Thailand and China outlined their concepts and placed then into the context of the industry's development. The current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were also discussed. The recording of the webinar can be called up here.

Broiler fattener and president of the German Broiler Producer Association (BVH) Stefan Teepker clearly illustrated the biosafety measures implemented on his farm. He briefly summed up his recipe for success as 'Prevention is better than cure'. He stated that the central element for the acceptance and consistent implementation of biosafety measures is employee satisfaction with the working conditions on the farm.

Dr Ronald Günther, veterinary specialist for poultry and advisor at Heidemark, explained the status quo and development of the antibiotic regulations in force in Germany and Europe. Antibiotics may only be prescribed very restrictively and under consideration of a very complex decision tree by vets. Aspects of sustainability and cost effectiveness as well as available alternatives must also be taken into account in addition to the actual effect of the antibiotics. Prophylactic measures such as stringent feed and water hygiene, optimum husbandry conditions and strategic decisions that also extend to breeding aspects should be combined with an individual veterinary concept. Responsible and sustainable poultry production that meets the objective of 'keeping animals healthy rather than restoring them to health' can only be ensured by combining various strategies.  

Sergey Lakhtyukhov, general director of the Russian Poultry Union, outlined the rapid development of the poultry sector, particularly in recent years. Today, Russia is the fifth-largest poultry producer in the world and the 11th biggest exporter of poultry meat with China as its main customer. The transport difficulties that have arisen due to the closure of sea ports during the COVID-19 pandemic were also mentioned in the context of meat trading activities with China. Russia is basing the expansion of its poultry production on a quality strategy encompassing e.g. the use of GMO-free feed, strict control of the use of antibiotics including a resistance prevention strategy and complete traceability as well as high hygiene and biosafety standards. Russia's declared objective is to become one of the top ten poultry meat exporters with the aid of this quality strategy.

Ms Kanyarat Chamraswimonrat, veterinary professor at Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture, subsequently provided an overview of Thailand's rapidly growing poultry industry, whose focus is on poultry meat production. Although China is the main export country, Thailand is constantly strengthening its position in international poultry trading thanks to the country's increasing quality standards.

In his closing presentation, Jianming Huang, general secretary of the China Broiler Alliance, pointed out that poultry production in China is also facing problems in view of its growth. Arable land and water are scarce, with the result that feed supplies can only be ensured through imports. Development is also being slowed down due to restrictions in the use of animal manure as a result of extensive environmental problems, a lack of biosafety concepts and increasing animal health and animal welfare requirements. Despite the necessary transformation and modernisation, poultry meat production is regarded as a 'growth industry' with anticipated annual growth of 10%.

The good and active participation in the webinar confirms that the need for professional exchange on an international footing remains unbroken – and may actually be higher due to the pandemic situation and the resulting travel restrictions. Accordingly, the other international webinars for dairy cattle farming and aquaculture also proved very popular.

In China, preparations are currently underway for the second 'EuroTier China', which is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 September 2020 in Chengdu and is looking forward to attracting numerous international exhibitors and visitors (