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Dutch Minister Calls for Sustainable Production

17 January 2008

Dutch Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg has called for a 15 year sustainable cattle breeding programme.

Speaking in the Dutch parliament, she minister said that the success of the ambitious programme lay in developing partnerships and she added that over the last year the sector had already taken a big step in the right direction.

She added that at the centre of the sustainable programme was animal health and welfare, where animals were bred in natural conditions allowed to see the daylight and were not subjected to practices such as tail lopping and castration.

She said the animals could also be vaccinated against most diseases.


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"Consumers with in-depth information are able to make a considered choice."
Dutch Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg

With animal health at the centre of the policy, she expected that sickness among cattle would reduce.

She added that she was also concerned about transporting animals to slaughter and she said that it was no longer possible to transport them over long distances.

The Minister called for all animal feed to come from Europe and from close to the breeding farms.

She also called for the animal manure to be used in Europe.

"Animal feed raw materials should be imported as little as possible," Minister Verburg told the Dutch Parliament.

"If it has to be imported, it should have been produced in a sustainable way."

She said that the problems with the production of greenhouse gases also had to be addressed in the production of cattle and she said that the vision was for a sustainable meat production that sought not particularly quantity by quality.

"On this basis, consumers with in-depth information are able to make a considered choice," she said.

She said that the supermarkets should also sell only sustainably produced meat, milk and eggs.

"I don't want to impose a blueprint on what cattle production should be in the future, I want to offer space so that innovation can be sustainable."

She also called for sustainable barn systems to be developed with a target of 2011 for a sustainable system to be adopted.

She said that this would mean a great deal of investment, but she said that it could be achieved through partnerships between the farmers, the processors, the retailers, the caterers and the various civil organisation.

She added that the government would also be committed to this sustainable future by assisting in research, subsidies for innovation, tax changes, investment support, education and promoting support among consumers as well as through changes in legislation.

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