21 May 2012
Jill Evans (Verts/ALE)
1. What records do you hold relating to the incidence of (a) breeding sow deaths, (b) piglet stillbirths, (c) piglet malformations in live births, and (d) the use of antibiotics and other medications, in the EU pig farming industry?
2. Have you investigated the links that appear to exist between animal health and the use of GM soy and Roundup residues in the feedstuffs and litter materials used on pig farms?
3. What steps has the Commission taken to ensure adequate supplies of animal feed protein for EU farmers in the event that GM soy should prove to be dangerous?
7 August 2012
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
EU animal health legislation provides for the notification on the occurrence of certain animal diseases of transmissible nature. Data on occurrence and losses are available only for such diseases. However, there are no similar obligations for the specific parameters mentioned by the Honourable Member.
As regards medication, the Commission does not hold data in question. Some data on the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine are available in the report ‘Trends in the sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in nine European countries’(1).
The Commission is not aware of any problem for pigs as regards the use of GM soy and Roundup. As for any other substance, the assessment of the toxicological safety of glyphosate is based on trials in experimental animals that allow extrapolating its innocuousness for humans.
Irrespective of future needs of protein feed sources, and based on new scientific and control developments, the Commission ‘TSE Roadmap 2’(2), outlines possible changes to EU measures related to Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies. One initiative envisaged is a revision of the current ‘feed ban’ which suspends the use of certain animal proteins in feed for food producing animals. The Commission intends to reintroduce processed animal proteins from non-ruminants in feed for aquaculture and for pigs and poultry in a later stage while avoiding intra-species recycling (cannibalism). This may enable the EU to decrease its dependence on other sources of proteins to a certain extent
The EU is also supporting under its Research Framework Programmes (FP) scientific activities to promote legume production as protein sources for food and feed (e.g.FP6 project ‘Grain Legumes’ and ongoing FP7 projects ‘Legume-Futures’(3) and MULTISWARD(4)) and a research topic will be published under the last FP7 call to promote genetic resources, breeding and management of European legumes (thus excluding soya).
(1) EMA/238630/2011, Trends in the sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in nine European Countries Antimicrobial use, p. 173.