The European Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development regularly publishes reports on the pigmeat sector. The CAP or Common Agricultural Policy regulates the development of our sector. We suggest to look through The Pigmeat Sector Report.
In page 16, there is a graph showing the EU pig prices in comparison with the US, Brazil and Quebec index ones. We have to break down these figures to see our position as EU pig producers. Although it can be seen a fluctuating performance in all prices from 2007 to 2010, the EU prices are the highest in the world. Nevertheless from the second half of 2010, Brazil shows that this tendency changes and their price sharply leaps up due to a strong domestic demand. We do not have to forget that Brazil is one of the new emerging countries and the demand is higher than the offer nowadays.
The difference in worldwide prices is motivated by high production costs that derived from expensive raw materials in compound feed and animal health and welfare in Europe.
«Keeping consumers confident about food safety» is one of the aims of the CAP. According to the CAP, «the concern of the EU is to make sure that the food we eat is of the same high standard for all its citizens. Food safety starts on the farm. EU rules apply from ‘farm to fork’, whether the food is produced in the EU or is imported from elsewhere in the world
If food is to be safe, the animals it comes from must be healthy. The need to keep animals healthy through good veterinary practice and to prevent outbreaks of contagious animal diseases is an EU priority. All animals and animal products must meet strict health requirements before they can be imported into or traded within the EU. It is a principle underlying EU legislation on animal welfare they can be imported into or traded within the EU. It is a principle underlying EU legislation on animal walfare that animals should not be subjected to avoidable pain or suffering. This is reflected in clear rules on the conditions in which hens, pigs and calves may be reared as well as in which farm animals can be transported and killed. These rules are regularly updated in the light of the latest scientific data and are some of the most rigorous in the world. Research shows that farm animals are healthier, and produce better food, if they are well treated.
Ensuring food safety and high animal health and welfare standards is not just a matter of regulations. The CAP offers farmers incentives to improve their performance in these areas. Although respecting the standards in this regard, by applying the principles of cross-compliance, benefits society as a whole this may impose considerable costs on farmers, so financial support is available to help farmers make improvements in these areas under the scope of Rural Development» (The Common Agricultural Policy Explained, page 13)
In fact, EU pig producers have high production cots and we would like to know how to receive such financial support as we do not get any subsidy or financial assistance at the end. These subsidies would be essential for the restructuring of farms in order to guarantee animal health and welfare. moreover, if the 80% of production costs are feedstuffs, should worldwide governments regulate raw material prices as they are basic on human and animal diet?.
If CAP does not take into account these questions, the EU´s role in agriculture will not be able to «provide a reasonable standard of living for EU farmers, while allowing the agriculture sector to modernise and develop» (CAP Explained, page 19) as many pig producers have dissapeared due to expensive feedstuffs and financial crisis and they will dissapear with the new 2013 welfare regulations.