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Mercosur deal criticised by European poultry farmers

Poultry farmers in the EU have hit out at the European Commission for signing the controversial Mercosur deal as it allows more poultry to enter Europe.

European poultry lobby group Avec has slammed the Commission saying that an additional 180,000 tonnes of poultry meat is now destined for European markets from mostly Brazil.

European poultry farmers are unhappy that an additional 180,000 tonnes of poultry will be destined for Europe in the Mercosur deal. Photo: Chris McCullough
European poultry farmers are unhappy that an additional 180,000 tonnes of poultry will be destined for Europe in the Mercosur deal. Photo: Chris McCullough

'Success story'

A spokesman for Avec said: “The EU Commission has often qualified the EU poultry meat sector as a ‘success story’ because the sector is independent with no subsidies from the EU, is market oriented and flexible.

“On top of that, the sector produces affordable products with low CO2 emissions under the highest standards in the world.

“Why then did the Commission proceed to offer the sector up for slaughter and sacrifice this ‘success story’ while negotiating the Mercosur agreement?

“A whopping quota of 180,000 tonnes of additional poultry meat has been granted to Mercosur countries, mainly Brazil, precisely double the amount of the last offer made at the end of 2017 and agreed by the EU Member States.

“Nothing can justify a 100% increase of the quantities,” he said.

“This is not just about more meat. It’s about people and livelihoods that will be impacted by this agreement! An extra 180,000 tonnes of poultry meat imported to the EU means a significant loss of EU jobs for our sector, mainly located in rural areas.”

Betrayed by the Commission

According to figures, Europe is already importing almost 900,000 tonnes of poultry meat every year from third countries. And just to compare with another meat, the import of beef is around 300,000 tonnes and for pork it is around 20,000 tonnes.

The spokesman added: “With additional imported quantities, we will import the equivalent of the German or French chicken meat production. So why is the EU so ready to chuck out our chicken?

“Over the past 20 years the EU poultry meat sector has made huge efforts to implement stronger policies on animal welfare, food safety and environment.

“With the Mercosur deal the EU Commission is basically saying our efforts were useless. We are fine with importing poultry meat with lower standards from third countries it thinks.

“The EU poultry meat sector feels betrayed by the Commission. Our sector has been sacrificed to satisfy the interests of bigger players. Our words may be strong, but they serve to highlight the level of disarray within the poultry meat sector right now,” he said.