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The expansion of agricultural land for the production of animal feed or palm oil is the biggest driver of loss and degradation of forests and other natural ecosystems worldwide. The EU’s demand for these so-called forest and ecosystem risk commodities plays a significant part in global deforestation linked to international trade.
The EU Commission has recently presented a proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. The aim of this Directive is to integrate international standards into European law and prevent negative consequences of global business activities. Can the law contribute to ending deforestation in transnational supply chains?
From 28 February to 2 March, the United Nations Environment Programme will host the next Environment Assembly. In a joint statement today, more than 150 organisations from all continents, including Germanwatch, call for sustainable food systems to be a core issue of the Assembly, with a particular focus on animal husbandry.
A thousand kilometer railway line is intended to make industrial soy production in Brazil cheaper and increase exports. As the second largest buyer of Brazilian soy, the European Union is already partly responsible for the social and ecological damage caused by soy production and for the expansion of cattle pastures in forest areas. Brazil's indigenous population are resisting the construction, pointing to the disregard of their rights and the threat to the climate and biodiversity.
Modern medicine is unthinkable without antibiotics. Their availability for the treatment of bacterial infectious diseases saves countless lives worldwide every day. Due to the increasing emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), we are currently in danger of losing effective antibiotics - nothing less than global health is at stake. The high and regular use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, which fosters antimicrobial resistance, is therefore no longer acceptable.
The legislative proposal presented today by the EU Commission to exclude deforestation in the supply chains of companies operating in the EU market does not go far enough, according to the environment and development organisation Germanwatch. Katharina Brandt, policy advisor for agriculture at Germanwatch, says: "If we want to curb the climate crisis and stop the global extinction of species, savannahs and wetlands must not fall victim to the cultivation of soy for industrial livestock farming in Europe."
On 14 October 2021, Alejandro Brown, president of Fundación Proyungas from the Gran Chaco, researchers Laura Kehoe (University of Oxford) and Alfredo Romero Muñoz (Humboldt University Berlin) as well as policy advisor Barbara Hermann (Climate Focus) highlighted the impacts of deforestation in the Gran Chaco through international trade and the difficulties of a zero-deforestation approach. They warned that the Gran Chaco is in a very critical state and further deforestation could lead to the total destruction of the ecosystems.
A so-called delegated act is currently being discussed at EU level, which is to provide criteria for the designation of antimicrobials that are reserved solely for humans and can then no longer be used in animal husbandry. On 15 September, the EU Parliament will decide on an objection to this delegated act. In essence, the objection provides for the delegated act to be revised again so that antimicrobials that are most important for humans ("critically important antimicrobials with the highest priority", WHO) can also be included in order to preserve their effectiveness.
More than every second chicken meat sample (51 per cent) from the three largest poultry companies in Europe is contaminated with resistance to one or even several antibiotics at the same time. On average, more than every third chicken (35 per cent) even carries antibiotic-resistant pathogens with resistance to critically important antimicrobials highest priority into the food chain. These are the alarming results of a study published October 27.
The study tested 165 chicken meat samples from the three companies, purchased in Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Germanwatch discloses: Chicken meat from the PHW-Group, Germany's largest poultry company, is almost 60 percent contaminated with antibiotic-resistant pathogens. This is the result of a Germanwatch study in which chicken meat samples from the three largest EU producers were tested in the laboratory. Every third sample even showed resistance to reserve antibiotics. These are emergency antibiotics that people need when other antibiotics no longer help. The more resistant pathogens are introduced into the food chain and into our kitchens with chicken meat, the greater the health risk that these last-line antibiotics will lose their effectiveness.