Animals farmed: lab-grown ‘chicken’, bird culls, and why pigs really can’t fly

Welcome to our monthly roundup of the biggest issues in farming and food production, with must-read reports from around the web

Happy new year to all our readers and welcome to our first farming news roundup of 2021. After Covid-19 outbreaks linked to meat plants, live export catastrophes and ever-clearer links between meat and Amazon deforestation last year, what can we expect from the next 12 months?

Three million birds have reportedly been slaughtered in Japan after multiple bird flu outbreaks. In Europe, there have been bird flu outbreaks in poultry in the Netherlands, Poland and France, while the UK has ordered all birds to be kept indoors in a bid to prevent further bird flu outbreaks in the commercial poultry sector – Northern Ireland recently had its first outbreak in a commercial flock since 1998. The UK’s free-range producers will get a derogation allowing them to carry on labelling their produce as free-range until early April.

Germany’s pig sector – the EU’s biggest – has been hit hard by cases of the deadly pig disease African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar, with China responding by banning German-sourced pork imports. The Schwarz Group – which operates the supermarket chains Lidl and Kaufland – said it would pay €50m (£45m) into a government-sponsored “animal welfare” fund, to help farmers affected by ASF and coronavirus.

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