MLC Chairman Speaks at EU Reception

It's vital that an effective Bluetongue vaccine is widely available before next Spring and matters of greenhouse gas emissions must be addressed, according to Peter Barr CBE.

Speaking the annual MLC Chairman's Reception in Brussels last night (4 December) Barr told members of the European Commission and Parliament and representatives of the UK meat and livestock industry that the industry faces a number of challenges, not only in the UK but across the European Community.

"The challenge of Blue Tongue is widespread and one with which many Member States are only too familiar. It's vital that an effective vaccine is widely available as soon as possible, ideally before next Spring," he said.

"Without a vaccine I'm seriously concerned that the costs of this disease will start rising exponentially."

Barr also took the opportunity to outline the inroads that the UK livestock industry has made to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and urged policy makers to focus on sectors where emissions are rapidly rising.

"It is important that we all address the crucial issue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And our industry is equally committed to playing its part," he said.

"The fact is, that with increases in production efficiency and declining livestock numbers across the EU, the net contribution of livestock production has fallen by more than 10% over the last decade.

"In the UK, we estimate, the application of existing technical knowledge alone will yield a further fall in global warming potential by 15 to 20 % per kilogramme of meat produced.

"Suggestions in some quarters about eating less meat and dairy products as a way to improve one's carbon footprint are dangerously over simplistic. More sensible would be to focus on those economic sectors and activities where emissions are rapidly rising."

The reception was held at the residence of the UK permanent representative, Kim Darroch. It provided an informal platform for the various parties to talk about EU policy and legislative issues of importance to the British meat and livestock sector.

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