Europe to lead world dairy quality standards and welfare, says expert

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Milk Eu

Europe will set the standard for the world dairy industry, specifically for milk quality and cow welfare, an international dairy expert has told a recent conference in Brussels staged by Pfizer Animal Health.

Ynte-Hein Schukken, professor of Epidemiology and Herd Health at Cornell University, US, told delegates that “Most of the milk produced throughout the developed world will be following the same standards as those set in the EU,”​ according to UK farm publication Farmers Guardian.

Milk import rules

Speaking at the seminar entitled Are European dairymen making the most of cell count data?,​ Schukken added that the US dairy industry expects EU authorities to insist on a much stricter interpretation of its milk import rules. Other countries, notably China and India, are likely to follow the lead shown by Brussels.

The likely impact would a fairer, more open world milk market, he said.

Schukken also predicted that EU authorities would ensure stricter implementation of milk quality standards within the union. In particular he predicted more rigorous implementation of the EU somatic cell standard across all member states.

Improving animal welfare would be another key aspect of EU policy adopted worldwide, he said. Cutting the incidence of clinical mastitis would be likely to receive high priority.

Meanwhile, earlier this month French police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of milk producers protesting against low milk prices and rising costs during French farm Minister Bruno Le Maire’s visit to a livestock event in Rennes.

Agriculture’s problems

Protesters said that the €300m package of aid for the beef, pork and milk sectors launched at the international livestock trade fair SPACE by Le Maire was too little to remedy French agriculture’s problems.

And July saw 1,000 European farmers flock to Brussels to protest outside an EU Council meeting about the withdrawal of quotas and the need for a better safety net to protect producers’ incomes against low prices.

The protests were led by the European Milk Board (EMB) and the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC).

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