Sunday, May 04, 2008

Now, that's "green"!

Forget plastic carrier bags. The EU has a much better plan for saving the planet, using up a massive quantity of a valuable renewable resource which, at present, is going to waste.

We are, of course, referring to the three million tons a year of meat and bone meal (MBM) – the remains of dead animals – produced by EU member states (pictured). Until the terror of Mad Cow Disease gripped the civilised world – and the European Union – it was happily fed to animals, not so much with government approval but with its active encouragement.

Now, eight years after its comprehensive ban on feeding the stuff to any animal (after partial bans dating back to 1994), the EU is having second thoughts and, according to The Guardian, is working on plans to allow pig-derived MBM to be fed to poultry and vice versa.

This, in fact, dates back to the end of 2006 – reported by The Times in mid-2007 - when the European Economic and Social Committee formally asked the EU commission to step up long-standing studies which, it said, "clearly show that the use of meat meal from non-ruminants can be used in pig and poultry feed without posing any danger to human health."

In its own laborious way, the commission is pursuing a project for the testing of animal proteins, to ensure it can police a partial lifting of the ban, but that is not due for completion until 2009. In anticipation of this, it intends to submit a proposal later this year, when it will ask the member states for permission to restore sales of this by-product to selected animal feeders.

Needless to say, even the prospect of a partial lifting of the ban has "animal rights campaigners" outraged, and the antis have also recruited Muslim organisations and other groups. They claim the move would put families at risk, offend religious sensibilities and lead to a major consumer backlash.

Says Dr Abdel Majid-Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, "There are two million Muslims in Britain and 25 million in Europe and this move would be a disaster for every one of them." He adds: "This is a sinful idea," apparently totally unaware of what happens inside a Halal slaughterhouse.

Others are also piling in, including the RSPCA which has "major concerns" about the health risks involved. Even "agriculture experts" are warning that many consumers would be offended by the idea of a return to the use of animal remains in farm feeds. Tom Acamovic, a nutrition expert based at the Scottish Agricultural College, in Ayr, opines: "I think there will be such a backlash from consumers that the idea would have to be dropped."

However, since the alternative to MBM is a combination of fishmeal and soya protein, with the dietary phosphorous element made up from distinctly non-renewable sources – the restoration of MBM into livestock and poultry diets should be widely welcomed by the "Greenies".

They will not see it that way, of course. Their narrative is that everybody should give up eating meat and become martians vegans. Under that regime there would not be any MBM produced anyway, so the current problem would not arise.

For the rest of us though, sanity will not be properly restored until we can go back to feeding the remains of dead cows to our chickens.


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