The British Poultry Council (BPC) is calling for the legalization of insect based meal and the re-introduction of processed animal proteins in poultry feeds, as new government figures reveal that poultry feed prices are rising at a higher rate than prices of other livestock feeds.
According to the figures, released by the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, average compound feed prices for livestock in Great Britain rose by 75.7% for pig feed, 85.8% for cattle feed, 92.7% for sheep feed and 101.4% for poultry feed from January 2006 to June 2014.
“Poultry producers have seen the highest rise in feed since 2006 compared to other major livestock types. This is largely as a result of poultry meat consumption and production growing faster than other meats, but also due to EU constraints on certain feed sources,” Andrew Large, the BPC’s chief executive, told FeedNavigator.
He added: “Feed costs are rising as a combination of increased demand for feed, poor harvests in recent years and restrictions on what can be included in animal feed in the EU.”
Whilst little can be done to change market drivers such as rising energy prices, a growing global population and pressure on land use, Large insisted that the Government does have control over the range of options feed producers can access when preparing feeds.
“We therefore urge the Government to act to broaden the range of animal feeds that are available,” he said.
Removal of legislative barriers
In order for this to happen, Large acknowledged that legislative barriers needed to be removed at an EU level. “There are a large number of legislative challenges but the main two are the current ban on feeding animal proteins to farm animals and the ban on using both catering waste and manure as a substrate for growing insect larvae,” he said.
The use of processed animal protein (PAP) in farm animal feed was banned in the European Union in 2001, amid fears about its contribution to mad cow disease.
There have since been discussions at an EU level about relaxing the ban to allow the feeding of PAP derived from non-ruminants to non-ruminants of a different species. The use of PAP is now permitted in fish feed, and discussions remain ongoing for pig and poultry.
The BPC supports the re-introduction of PAP in poultry feeds, subject to strict controls.
“The main challenge is ensuring a reliable test is in place to prevent same species material and ruminant material finding its way into poultry feed,” said Large.
Another measure that the BPC believes would keep feed prices in check is the removal of legislative barriers to the use of insect based meals.