Tag Archives: Food

Albania endemic animal cruelty

Albania restaurants are offering diners meat from illegally hunted bears – part of an illicit trade in wildlife that is “out of control” in the country, investigators claim.

Researchers said it was the first time they had seen bear meat cooked in Europe, and experts warned that the crude butchering of animals may lead to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as coronavirus, and many others. The investigaion took place in one of such a restaurants.

Bears, monkeys and birds of prey are among live animals being sold on popular Albanian online marketplaces, the investigation found, raising fears for the survival of some species in the country.

Animal-protection charity Four Paws discovered that two of Albania’s leading online sites were carrying dozens of adverts selling brown bears and other species that are legally protected to be killed an consumed as food.

Many photographs of the animals – along with foxes, barn owls and wolves – showed them with their mouths taped up or their claws chained.

It’s a profitable business: a tiny capuchin monkey was offered for €750 (£675), and a barn owl, a bear cub and a wolf for €500 each.

The buyers are mostly restaurant and hotel owners who keep the animals to attract tourists, or individuals who want the animals as pets and status symbols, charity workers said. But also for consumption as exotic meals.

Eagles, the national symbol of Albania, are especially popular with buyers and are often found stuffed as trophies in public places. In spite of the law delcaring them protected species, prohibiting them to be caged or sold,following a huge decline of native wildlife in the country, the implementation of law has been poor.

Although the offenders may be jailed for abuse, the overwhelming majority of the them escape justice.

Four Paws said that after its team reported some of the illegal adverts, they were deleted but new ones reappeared.

“A large majority of the photographs displayed severe animal cruelty, such as foxes with sealed muzzles in plastic boxes, bear cubs in chains and birds with their feet tied,” said Barbara van Genne, of the charity.

Monkeys and birds of prey are often kept in bars and restaurants in Albania as a tourist attraction, while foxes are sold for their fur, according to the investigators.

Wolves are bought to be cross-bred with dogs for the puppies to be sold as guard dogs, commonly used in the mountains against wolves. But other animals are killed, stuffed and put on display.

Animals’ mouths are often taped to prevent them biting and their feet chained to stop them running away.

Jane Goodall change diet lessons of COVID-19

Today, the legendary ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall told an EU audience of nearly 1,300 participants that we are responsible for the current pandemic. Covid-19 and the climate crisis are together delivering a clear message that the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment are interdependent.

Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at the webinar ‘Pandemics, wildlife and intensive animal farming,’ organised by Compassion in World Farming. The event featured an introduction by EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, and was co-hosted by seven Members of the European Parliament from key political groups.

Highly intensive farming systems have created an abundance of food but in Europe, at least, there is also significant waste and at times also animal suffering. These phenomena deeply worry me. The parts that don’t work are ethically questionable and socially and environmentally unacceptable. Our citizens expect more and we will deliver a better balance to ensure that farming practices are sustainable and food is affordable. Animal welfare is among my priorities. It has always been a concern to me, an issue close to my heartStella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said.

“We will constantly support sustainable farming and breeding practices as an alternative to intensive industrial farming and I am sure that, together with the Member States, with the support of our citizens, we will achieve significant and lasting progress in this aspect” Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, said.

All animals matter, every animal is an individual just as every human being is an individual and all are deserving of our compassion, respect and care. They have personalities, minds and feelings and they feel pain. However, destroying nature and exploiting animals in intensive “factory” farms shows complete disregard towards life. This has consequences for us all, as we have clearly seen in the Covid-19 pandemic” Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, said.

“I hope the Covid-19 pandemic wakes us up! We are responsible for this; we need to treat animals better. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world. One of the lessons learnt from this crisis is that we must change our ways. Scientists warn that to avoid future crises we must drastically change our diets and move to plant-rich foods. For the sake of the animals, the planet and the health of our children let us move forward into a wise, sustainable and compassionate future” Dr Jane Goodall added.

Coronavirus has served as a pertinent reminder that, for the wellbeing of people tomorrow, urgent action is needed today to end factory farming. Without ending the viral ‘hothouse’ that is keeping large numbers of animals caged, cramped and confined in conditions that allow viruses to mutate, the next pandemic could be just around the corner. In the war against invisible enemies, never has there been a more potent reminder of why protecting people means protecting animals tooPhilip Lymbery, Global CEO of Compassion in World Farming, commented.

Kyriakides Commissioner on «Farm to Fork»

“The transformation of our food production system has been at the top of our agenda since the President’s political guidelines in July” said Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the press conference on the adoption of the Biodiversity Strategy and the Farm to Fork Strategy, which took place on May 20 in Brussels. #Farm2Fork

“But the pandemic has brought into sharper focus the importance of a resilient food system and food security, given the strong links between our health, ecosystems and supply chains.This is just the latest reminder of many: annual droughts, floods, forest fires and new pests, are alarm bells that our food system must become more sustainable and resilient.

“Today we are presenting our vision to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food, and to improve our health and our environment.At a time of deep societal and economic crisis, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity are the strongest sign of commitment from us to the Green Deal and sustainability agenda.

“Why is this Strategy so special? First, because it is the first time in the history of EU food policy that we propose a comprehensive agenda for all stages of food production – but looking particularly from the point of view of the consumer and the producer, and putting them at the centre of our focus.

For this reason – second – sustainability becomes a growth strategy: this is what our citizens increasingly demand – nutritious food which is healthy and is produced in a way which is respectful towards our planet. That is why this is also a recovery strategy both for the short and the long term.

Third, it is a health and prevention strategy against further crises. Reversing the rise in obesity rates and change of consumption patterns across the EU is critical – for the health of our citizens and continent but also for our resilience to pandemics.

Food systems are key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation. In the EU, agriculture is responsible for 10.3% of the greenhouse gas emissions. “The Farm to Fork Strategy is thus crucial for delivering the European Green Deal. That is why sustainability is a growth strategy.

“It is also an opportunity for Europe’s farmers, fishermen and women and food producers to become global leaders in sustainability and guarantee the future of the EU food chain.First movers will have the competitive advantage, globally.

“Today we present no less than 27 concrete actions to transform our food system. We will take action to protect our environment by curbing the use and risk of pesticides in agriculture by 50%, and also reduce the use of fertilisers by at least 20%. We will revise EU legislation on the sustainable use of pesticides and promote alternative ways of protecting harvests from pests and diseases.

“We will also take action to increase the size of EU’s agricultural land dedicated to organic farming to at least 25%.We will also reduce the use of antibiotics in farming and aquaculture by 50%. These ambitious targets need to be reached by 2030. We will also act to reduce food loss and waste, step up our fight against food fraud, and strengthen animal welfare rules.

“For our citizens, it is about making the healthy and sustainable choice the obvious choice. In Europe today, more than half of the population is overweight or obese.To provide clear information and empower consumers to make healthy, sustainable choices, we will propose harmonised mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling within 2 years. This vision is not only European – it is global. Through Farm to Fork, we embark on promoting a global transition to sustainable food systems through partnerships and “green alliances”.

“All transitions have a cost – but the cost of inaction would be even greater for all of us. The Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy will support our primary producers through new streams of funding and eco-schemes to implement sustainable practices.Because without prospering farmers, we will not ensure food security. Without a healthy planet, farmers will have nowhere to farm.

“I have always said that this is not the Commission’s Plan, this is Europe’s Plan.The Farm to Fork Strategy will ensure that, together, we will emerge with a more robust, secure, and sustainable food system. And more importantly, healthier citizens on a greener, more sustainable planet”.

GIs sales value of €75bln

Agri-food and drink products whose names are protected by the European Union as “Geographical Indications” (GIs) represent a sales value of €74.76 billion, according to a study published today by the European Commission. Over one fifth of this amount results from exports outside the European Union. The study found that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification.

“European Geographical Indications reflect the wealth and diversity of products that our agricultural sector has to offer. Producers’ benefits are clear. They can sell products at a higher value, to consumers looking for authentic regional products. GIs are a key aspect of our trade agreements. By protecting products across the globe, we prevent fraudulent use of product names and we preserve the good reputation of European agri-food and drink products. Geographical Indications protect local value at global level”, Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, said.

European food is famous for being safe, nutritious and of high quality. Traditional production methods contribute to the EU objective to also become the global standard for sustainability in food production.

EU quality schemes aim at protecting the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as know-how embedded in the region.

These product names are part of the EU system of intellectual property rights, legally protecting them against imitation and misuse. Agri-food products and wines are protected as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and spirit drinks as Geographical Indications (GI). European Union also protects Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG), highlighting the traditional aspects of a product without being linked to a specific geographical area. The sales value of agricultural products and foodstuffs labelled as TSG are worth €2.3 billion.

The study was based on all 3,207 product names protected across the 28 EU Member States at the end of 2017 (by the end of March 2020, the total number of protected names increased to 3,322). It concludes that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double than that for similar products without a certification.

According to the study, there is a clear economic benefit for producers in terms of marketing and increase of sales thanks to high quality and reputation of these products, and willingness of consumers to pay to get the authentic product.

The main findings of the study are:

Significant sales value: Geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed all together accounted for an estimated sales value of €77.15 billion in 2017, 7% of the total sales value of the European food and drink sector estimated at €1,101 billion in 2017. Wines represented more than half of this value (€39.4 billion), agricultural products and foodstuffs 35% (€27.34 billion), and spirit drinks 13% (€10.35 billion). Out of the 3,207 product names that were registered in 2017 (both GI and TSG), 49% were wines, 43% agri-food products and 8% spirits drinks.

Higher sales premium for protected products: the sales value of the products covered by the study was on average double than the sales value for similar products without a certification. The value premium rate stood at 2.85 for wines, 2.52 for spirits and 1.5 for agricultural products and foodstuffs.

A truly European policy: Each EU country produces products whose names are protected at EU level and serve as flagships for the traditional culinary heritage of regions and as economic drivers for the national agri-food sector.

Exports of geographical indications: geographical indications represent 15.5% of the total EU agri-food exports. Wines remained the most important product both in terms of total sales value (51%) and extra-EU trade (50%). The U.S., China and Singapore are the first destinations for EU GI products, accounting for half of the export value of GI products.

To ensure that the EU quality policy continues to deliver at its best, an online public consultation was launched from 4 November 2019 to 3 February 2020 to gather feedback on the policy from stakeholders. Among the key findings, a majority of respondents agreed that EU quality schemes benefit producers and consumers. The ‘factual summary’ report gives a detailed overview of the feedback received from the public consultation.

COVID19: threat of animal transport

With over 35 animal welfare NGOs, we sent a letter to EU leaders, asking them to adapt their response to COVID-19, since long border delays are resulting in animal suffering. We called on the EU to ban the transport of farm animals to non-EU countries, as well as journeys that last over 8 hours.

Due to the increased border control delays resulting from COVID-19, in many cases the transport of farm animals cannot be carried out in a way that is compliant with EU law. The EU Transport Regulation requires that animals are moved without delay to the place of destination, and that animals’ needs are met during the journey.Insisting on continued transport of animals in such conditions is irresponsible and inhumane and disregards the EU treaty, which stipulates that EU law and policies must pay full regard to animal welfare” said Peter Stevenson Compassion in World Farming’s Chief Policy Advisor.

We are concerned that in the new EU guidelines for border management, published this week, the EU Commission insists that the transport of live animals between EU countries must continue. These guidelines disregard the severe problems imposed on the health and welfare of farm animals being transported, especially those transported between EU and non-EU countries.

Vehicles with farm animals are being refused entry to Croatia. There are traffic queues of 40 km at the border between Lithuania and Poland and queues on the German side of the border with Poland of 65 km leading to waiting times of 18 hours. Vehicles with farm animals are also getting caught up in very long queues at the exit point between Bulgaria and Turkey – drivers transporting farm animals reported to Animals’ Angels that they needed three hours to move 300 m inside the border.

Queues at borders are stopping medical supplies and health professionals from getting through. It is even less likely that it will be possible to attend to the welfare of animals caught up in these queues.

Moreover, there is a real risk that countries close their borders without having any infrastructure in place to cater to the needs of the transported animals, and provide what is required by EU law, such as food, water and places to rest.

“The trade in live animals threatens not only the health and well-being of the animals, but it also threatens our health”, – said Olga Kikou, Compassion in World Farming’s Head of EU Office. “The drivers, animal handlers, vets, civil servants and their families can easily get infected. Unlike others who enter and exit the EU, they are not required to be in quarantine. We are putting them and ourselves at risk. We are faced with never-before seen measures to contain the spread of the virus as an increasing number of European countries enter lockdowns. Nonetheless, we allow live animals to be transported everywhere, while the health authorities advise people to stay at home. This a double standard! The trade in live animals cannot be considered a crucial sector providing essential services to society. This absurdity needs to stop!”

Son of Russian oligarch eats gold

Amid COVID19 pandemic son of Russian oligarch from city SamaraAlexey Shapovalov flaunts his experience of tasing gold 958 KDM, while residing in one of luxury hotels in Emirates.

The video of a young man tasing a teaspoon of gold outraged Russian internauts, who complain about empty shelves in supermarkets, where the cheapest items were sold out in anticipation of coronavirus lockdown. The commentators said that people bought what they could afford: buckwheat, macaroni, potato, flour, rice, sugar and cheap tinned food to create a “strategic” food storage at home.

Thé shopping spree caused certain shortages with “strategic” foods, and hygienic products. Reacting upon the situation President Putin asked citizens to avoid unnecessary buying of “extra” food which would end in rubbish, he ensured that there will no shortages.

“It is essential that people understand that the situation with the supply is stable, that there is no need to spend money of goods they will have to throw away later“, Putin underlined, while commenting on the novel virus pandemic consequences.

Iran sends fresh food to Qatar

Iran has sent four cargo planes of fresh food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable daily, Iranian officials confirmed, amid growing concerns of shortages after Qatar’s biggest suppliers severed ties.

Qatar has been in talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut links, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar says the allegations are false.

“Following the sanctions (…) on Qatar, IranAir has so far transported food and vegetables to this country by four flights,” Shahrokh Noushabadi, head of public relations at Iran’s national airline, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
It was not clear whether the deliveries were made in the form of exports or aid. Qatar is largely dependent on foodstuff imports to meet its needs, and thus vulnerable to the Saudi blockade, according to Iranian PressTV site.

EU: 9800 tonnes of food counterfeit seized

EUR 230 million worth of fake food and beverages seized in global OPSON operation targeting food fraud

Operation OPSON VI, the joint Europol-INTERPOL operation targeting counterfeit and substandard food and drink, as well as the organised crime networks behind this illicit trade, has resulted in the seizure of 9 800 tonnes, over 26.4 million litres, and 13 million units/items worth an estimated EUR 230 million of potentially harmful food and beverages ranging from every day products such as alcohol, mineral water, seasoning cubes, seafood and olive oil, to luxury goods such as caviar.

This year, 61 countries (21 EU Member States) took part in operation OPSON VI, which was carried out for the sixth time in a row and saw an increase in participating countries (57 countries in 2016). Each participating country implemented a national operational phase between 1 December 2016 to 31 March 2017, involving police, customs, national food regulatory bodies and partners from the private sector. More than 50 000 checks were carried out at shops, markets, airports, seaports and industrial estates.

“OPSON VI confirmed the threat that food fraud represents, as it affects all types of products and all regions of the world. In addition we saw some new trends such as counterfeit mineral water. Once again the good cooperation on a European and global level was paramount to disrupt the criminal gangs behind the illicit trade in counterfeit and unregulated food and drink,” said Chris Vansteenkiste, head of Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition – IPC3.

“This operation has once again shown that criminals will fake any type of food and drink with no thought to the human cost as long as they make a profit. Whilst thousands of counterfeit goods have been taken out of circulation, we continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant about the products they buy,” said Françoise Dorcier, Coordinator of INTERPOL’s Illicit Goods and Global Health Programme.

The annual operation coordinated by Europol and INTERPOL is supported by customs, police and national food regulatory bodies in addition to partners from the private sector. Since its first edition in 2011, the number of countries taking part in OPSON has grown every year.