On animal welfare and bike rides

Welfare certainly seems to be the buzzword of the moment, with increasing emphasis being placed on it all the time.

We've seen a number of developments in recent days, from the Scots securing the backing of the Scottish SPCA to the European Union introducing new rules on welfare. And with a new documentary set to air on television, questioning the pig-producing practices of big business, the industry is likely to once again find itself in the spotlight.

The biggest challenge the industry is likely to face, however, is meeting those demands for higher-welfare production, while also satisfying the need to meet targets on environmentally sustainable production.

The two are not necessarily that compatible, with many scientists suggesting that more intensive meat production is a more effective way of limiting the environmental impact. And, of course, more intensive does not sit well with free-range, outdoor-reared and all the other concepts of high-welfare production. It's going to be quite an interesting challenge to see how we manage to get round some of these issues, but I can't see either of them disappearing as consumer issues any time soon.

? On another matter, I'd like to thank everyone who kindly supported the Butchers on Bikes London to Paris ride. As you can see on pages 10-11, we all made it there in one piece and managed to raise more than 40,000. We're still accepting late donations, so anyone feeling generous should visit www.justgiving.com/ butchers-on-bikes. And for more pictures and commentary from the ride itself, see www.butchersonbikes.wordpress.com.

Thanks again for all your support.

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