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FARMING

Sweden condemns pig cannibalism

However, across Europe, pigs can still be legally fed with feed containing pig blood, disgusting Agriculture Minister Eskil Erlandsson, who called it "shocking."

Erlandsson reacted after learning that a Danish producer part-owned by Swedish meat producer Scan makes pig feed that contains pig blood, among other ingredients.

“It is ethically objectionable to eat one’s own species,” he said.

Following the mad cow disease crisis in the 1990s, meat and bone meal were banned as feed for pigs, cows and chickens. Cannibalism was cited as a reason for the spread of mad cow disease, officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

However, across Europe, pigs can now be fed entirely legally with feed containing pig blood and fat, Sveriges Radio’s news bulletin Ekot reported on Tuesday.

In Sweden, Scan and other large meat producers have agreed not to use blood or animal fat in animal feed for pigs, among others. However, Scan is part-owner of Danish company Daka, which produces pig feed based on pig blood and fat.

Scan’s communications director Margaretha Thorngren thinks that it is unethical if to give pigs animal feed derived from their own species and now wants to see a change.

Leo Virta, head of marketing at Daka, told Ekot that the blood and fat processing is so refined at the plant that it is something completely different than the pigs for meat and bone meal.

“Strictly speaking, one can say that there has been an industrial version of a natural raw material that becomes natural again,” he said.

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FARMING

WTO rules US tariffs on Spanish olives breach rules

A US decision to slap steep import duties on Spanish olives over claims they benefited from subsidies constituted a violation of international trade rules, the World Trade Organisation ruled Friday.

WTO rules US tariffs on Spanish olives breach rules
Farmers had just begun harvesting olives in southern Spain when former US President Donald Trump soured the mood with the tariffs' announcement. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Former US president Donald Trump’s administration slapped extra tariffs on Spain’s iconic agricultural export in 2018, considering their olives were subsidised and being dumped on the US market at prices below their real value.

The combined rates of the anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties go as high as 44 percent.

The European Commission, which handles trade policy for the 27 EU states, said the move was unacceptable and turned to the WTO, where a panel of experts was appointed to examine the case.

In Friday’s ruling, the WTO panel agreed with the EU’s argument that the anti-subsidy duties were illegal.

But it did not support its stance that the US anti-dumping duties violated international trade rules.

The panel said it “recommended that the United States bring its measures into conformity with its obligations”.

EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis hailed the ruling, pointing out that the US duties “severely hit Spanish olive producers.”

Demonstrators take part in a 2019 protest in Madrid, called by the olive sector
Demonstrators take part in a 2019 protest in Madrid called by the olive sector to denounce low prices of olive oil and the 25 percent tariff that Spanish olives and olive oil faced in the United States. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)
 

“We now expect the US to take the appropriate steps to implement the WTO ruling, so that exports of ripe olives from Spain to the US can resume under normal conditions,” he said.

The European Commission charges that Spain’s exports of ripe olives to the United States, which previously raked in €67 million ($75.6 million) annually, have shrunk by nearly 60 percent since the duties were imposed.

The office of the US Trade Representative in Washington did not immediately comment on the ruling.

According to WTO rules, the parties have 60 days to file for an appeal.

If the United States does file an appeal though, it would basically amount to a veto of the ruling.

That is because the WTO Appellate Body — also known as the supreme court of world trade — stopped functioning in late 2019 after Washington blocked the appointment of new judges.

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