Welfare outcomes set us apart from other countries

A message from Dr. Mandy Nevel, AHDB’s Head of Animal Health and Welfare, a veterinary surgeon with experience in veterinary disease, health and welfare of ruminants and pigs.


Good animal health and welfare are vital for each and every animal on our farms and, as a vet, improving animal health and welfare is my passion. But how do we prove that we have good health and welfare in our animals?


As an industry we are increasingly being asked to demonstrate this and it doesn’t do to just say that we do.


Animal health is slightly easier to measure than animal welfare – how many animals have a particular disease or how much medicine has been used to treat diseases can be recorded. But for welfare, the easier measurements are the inputs into a system – for example the stocking density or how much trough space each animal has to feed from. Yet they don’t measure the welfare for the pig itself. Do those inputs result in better welfare, for example, less disease, less lameness or fewer injuries?


The Real Welfare scheme records and reports on welfare outcomes – what the pig itself experiences. It sets us apart from other countries where only inputs are reported.


Changes to management should be able to demonstrate a real improvement in health or welfare at the animal level itself.  It is only through good recording on farm or in the abattoir that we will be able to do that.


During lockdown, we were unable to record health conditions in the abattoir and I am delighted that health assessments are now back up and running. New assessments will be found on our website and weekly e-newsletter.


In future, we will be making sure that we join up data sets to maximise the learnings we get not just from individual data sets but getting more information when we combine them. For example, pneumonia is both a health and welfare issue for our pigs as well as causing production inefficiency at farm and processor levels; it slows growth and can result in increased trimming of the carcase, slowing down the lines. But it also results in more antibiotics being used.


Joining up the data we collect on health, welfare and the use of antibiotics can be more powerful in terms of understanding the impacts of the disease than looking at those measures in isolation. But disease also impacts on the environment. Indeed, there is increasing awareness that animal health is one of the most significant factors influencing the environmental impact of livestock production systems.


To find out more about the real welfare scheme: https://ahdb.org.uk/real-welfare

To find out more about AHDB: www.meattheUKexporters.com


Red meat and dairy heading to US for SIAL America

AHDB will be attending the first-ever SIAL America food and drink show to fly the flag for beef, pork and cheese from the UK where buyers and key influencers in the United States will get to sample the great flavour of red meat and dairy products from the United Kingdom. AHDB will be showcasing beef and pork as well as a selection of cheese in the all-important US market – where exports of red meat topped $45.92 million (£34.5 million) last year, and cheese shipments surpassed $66.56 million (£50 million).


SIAL America, which runs from March 22 – 24 in Las Vegas, is expected to attract thousands of importers from across the US, as well as food service companies, distributors, retailers and wholesalers. The SIAL network has over 50 years of experience in delivering food events that provide critical business connections, inspired content and an unrivalled export platform.


Exports of pork to the US have been steadily increasing, helped by the removal of the 25% tariff last summer, reaching 16.37 million pounds (7,427 tonnes) last year – up 17.5 per cent on 2021, valued at $31.27 million (£23.5 million). Beef shipments surpassed 5.66 million pounds (2,570 tonnes), worth 14.64 (£11 million), in the first full year since exports resumed after more than two decades


AHDB Senior Export Manager Susana Morris said: ““The US is a key target market for both our red meat and cheese exports as there is a real growing appetite for our products, as customers in the US value the UK’s high standards in food safety, our farmers’ commitment to protecting the environment and the great taste and heritage of our unique breeds including the Angus and Hereford.


“Further and following the recent news regarding sheep meat exports, we also hope to be able to export our high-quality lamb to the US later this year.”


AHDB Senior Export Manager for Dairy Lucy Randolph added: “SIAL America is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase cheese from the UK to a large and varied audience. We are delighted to be in attendance at its debut show and we are hopeful that SIAL America will provide some valuable connections in this important market.”


To find out more about AHDB visit www.meattheUKexporters.com

AHDB promotes British beef at high-profile event in Texas

Senior beef industry figures in America got to sample the flavour of British beef and learn more about the UK’s meat production during a high-profile event in Texas this week.


AHDB’s Director of International Development Dr Phil Hadley participated in a reception hosted by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the USA Dame Karen Pierce to promote and celebrate British beef in this all-important export market.


The reception, which saw more than 50 senior US beef figures attend, was held alongside the NCBA Convention – a major American beef sector trade show which attracts more than 6,500 cattlemen and women every year.


The Cattle Industry Convention in Houston is American agriculture’s premier event where industry comes together for three days of education, networking and business.


The reception, held at the Consul General’s residence, gave attendees the opportunity to sample British beef which was prepared with authentic Texan flavours and hear about the key characteristics of British beef, provided by Foyle Food Group.


Dr Hadley said: “The reception provided a valuable opportunity to meet with key influencers in this market and highlight the traceability, high animal welfare standards and food safety that we operate to in the UK, all of which is valued in the US marketplace.


“Being asked to speak at the reception was a fantastic opportunity as I was able to showcase our famous native breed cattle, the flavour and health benefits of grass-fed beef as well as discussing the trade between our two countries.”


Exports of UK beef to the US have been rising steadily since gaining market access in September 2020. In the first eleven months of 2021, 2,300 tonnes of beef – fresh, frozen and offal – were shipped to America, worth more than £9.5 million.


The US market offers potential for UK red meat, with pork exports rising year-on-year and lamb exports expected to resume this year after more than two decades of restrictions.


Dr Hadley added: “The US is a growing export market for our red meat exports and AHDB is committed to building on our already impressive export figures and providing more opportunities for our UK red meat exporters.


Attending trade shows, exhibitions and events in key global markets is a hugely important area of work for AHDB as we are able to showcase our exceptional products on behalf of our levy payers and continue to fly the flag for UK red meat to a global audience.”


In spring 2022, we will be asking all eligible levy payers to shape our work and priorities. Your views will help guide what we deliver over the next five years. Have your say on the vital support we offer your business and the industry. Registration is open until 31 March 2022.

To find out more about AHDB visit www.meattheUKexporters.com