Good animal welfare is a prerequisite for the development of circular agriculture. That is the opinion of the Council for Animal Affairs (RDA).
The think tank of experts in the field of animal welfare, health and associated ethical issues, writes in this view that animal welfare has so far been neglected in the questions surrounding circular agriculture.
Establishment of advisory committee and research agenda
To ensure this, the RDA recommends setting up an advisory committee and a research agenda, so that questions and knowledge are available to entrepreneurs. It is also important to develop circular agriculture at European level, so that a level playing field is created for farmers. The Taskforce Earning Capacity also came to this conclusion in October 2019.
More residual flows
According to the Council, feeding more residual flows can endanger animal welfare and health. For example, because residual flows have a different digestibility or may be contaminated. The safety of these products as use for animal feed is therefore important. The experts mention, for example, feeding swill, which is prohibited under current regulations because of the risk of animal diseases such as KVP, MKZ and BSE. DNA technology could make it possible to separate the vegetable residual flows from the animal ones. This first category can then be presented to farm animals; the animal residual flows are suitable for, for example, farmed fish or insects. Feeding the latter back to animals is ecologically less efficient, the RDA concludes. This advocates the humane consumption of insects.
Research into combination of animal species
The time it takes to achieve the conversion of circular agriculture offers the opportunity to build animal welfare in livestock farming, the RDA notes. For example, research should be conducted into which combination of animal species are the most effective for converting residual flows into high-quality food.
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