20 January 2018 | Online since 2003

17 October 2017

Chairman's Comment - October 2017


In Brexit, egg production has some challenging encounters and some promising opportunities. Dale Burnett spoke at the BFREPA Conference and AGM about the uncertainty of Brexit, but also of the opportunities that ‘Britishness’ will bring.

Cheap imports may bring challenges but aligned with that will be opportunities to export British eggs and expertise. There is no country in the world with a better understanding of free range than Britain -  or of the endurances and technical expertise needed to thrive in this – a British agricultural success story.

RSPCA Assured have disappointed again. Bristol University, through John Tarlton, put together a funding plan for a study to assess the benefits of perching. At the eleventh-hour RSPCA Assured pulled out of the study, without warning or explanation. It is yet another example how they seem unwilling to engage with science to back up their demands. BFREPA will continue to give Bristol University all the help they need – welfare is paramount to an egg producer. We need to ensure that changes to welfare are backed up with responsible trials and are grounded in science. The supermarkets and retailers must insist that RSPCA Assured engage with agriculture - only they have the necessary influence to stop todays issues becoming tomorrows headlines.

The BFREPA AGM was dominated by AI zones and perching which resulted in a vote of no confidence in the decision-making processes of RSPCA Approved. These subjects are emotive amongst egg producers - our farms are littered with perches from unsuccessful perching experiments. Only science will prevent todays perches ending up on the farm scrapheap.

We are no closer to finding a solution to an AI outbreak than we were last year. Rest assured that BFREPA are continuing discussions with the relevant parties and we will pass on any news as soon as we have it.

Congratulations to all the award winners at this month’s conference, sponsored by Elanco. A fitting tribute to their excellence and dedication.