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from £4.73 million during the preceding twelve-month period. One of the most debated issues in the context of the UK’s exit

from the EU is what happens to the border delineating the Republic of Ireland from the six counties. Some of the rhetoric currently being floated about a new border complete, doubtlessly, with watchtowers and minefields, has been beyond the bounds of civilised discussion. There can be little doubt that minds are turning to solutions that will recognise the realities of the situation between the north and south of the political dividing line, as well as recent political developments in the north stemming from the apparent breakdown of the power sharing arrangements. Anyway, that’s enough of politics. Declan Billington, asked how he

would sum up Brexit in one word, responded with ‘uncertainty’. There are few who would dispute his summation; a similar reaction would probably be forthcoming from many compounders on what was once called ‘the mainland’. He added that uncertainty would apply to ‘every aspect of our business’. On the positive side, Declan Billington noted that the prospect of

being able to access grain without tariffs, so long as a deal could be done with the US, could contribute to a significant reduction of input costs. An additional feature benefitting the trade would be access to UK-approved GM crop varieties which, for whatever reason, have not been approved by the EU. He went on to note that currency volatility was a ‘double-edged sword’ which, on the one hand, could increase input costs while, on the other hand, could make UK exports more completive. Declan Billington’s final remarks echo a theme that this publication has pursued over the years. He noted that if UK agriculture lost the support of government

delivered via the Common Agricultural Policy, then it would only ‘survive through the market delivering significantly higher food prices’. Support, in this context, refers to the payments received by farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy and its various adjuncts related to environmental matters. It is far from clear that this is understood by large sectors of the media, let alone effectively argued by DEFRA and whatever allies it has in the government sphere.

ANTIBIOTIC-FREE POULTRY The US has frequently if inaccurately been cited as overwhelmingly wedded to the use of antibiotics with a significant input consisting of growth promoting medication. Not any more, it seems. Tyson Foods, a major player in the US

market for poultry, has announced that it is planning to phase out the use of antibiotics in poultry production by September this year. Tyson note that the growth of antibiotic resistance is of global concern and the company sees it as ‘our responsibility to be part of a solution’. The company says that it has already made a great deal of progress. The company has already stopped using human antibiotics in its thirty-five hatcheries and reduced their use in its broiler chickens by more than eighty per cent since 2011, adding that only a small percentage of its broiler chickens ever receive human antibiotics.


These are only given as needed and then only as prescribed by a veterinarian. The company has formed working groups with independent

farmers and others in its beef, pork and turkey supply chains with the objective of discussing ways in which the use of human antibiotics on its farms can be reduced. The company’s international business has committed to taking similar measures on antibiotic use in its chicken producing operations but, as yet, has not set a timeframe. To meet its goal, the company is working on ways to reduce the

need for human antibiotics on the farm by using alternatives. These include the use of probiotics as well as essential oils, improved housing and selective breeding. Tyson note that they have a responsibility to treat sick animals and animal well-being will never be compromised. The company is working with other components of the food industry, with government and with the veterinary, public health and academic communities, in order to accelerate research into disease prevention and antibiotic alternatives. The company is also receiving important input from an Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel; importantly, this is made up of independent advisors. Made at the tail end of February, this is an important announcement.

Tyson is the second-largest poultry company in the world. It slaughters more than 2.3 billion birds each year. Tyson’s announcement reflects the fact that for years, companies have been working on ways to reduce the amount of antibiotics they use on animals raised for human consumption. This follows the fact that leading scientists have concluded the practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock has significantly contributed to the emergence of human illnesses which no longer respond to treatment with common antibiotics. Tyson Foods is not, it must be admitted, the first major US poultry


company to go antibiotic free, as it were. Perdue Farms, which is the fourth-largest chicken producer in the US, has already made the switch. But Tyson’s announcement is important, as it makes Tyson the largest poultry company to commit to the switch. The decision comes at a time when market forces are demanding that companies offer cleaner, fresher, more sustainable products.


TALLOW-FACED I am not sure how the Bank of England’s current embarrassment surfaced but the Old Lady was driven to make an official response to the situation, thus driving discussions about the future trends in interest rates or other similar matters of moment clean out of sight. This publication is concerned with all matters relating to animal

feed and tallow is a livestock product. The story concerns the new £5 note that went into circulation on 13 September last and features Sir Winston Churchill. After the revelation, that the new fiver contained traces of tallow used in the production of the new note, a social media storm broke with a petition being launched pointing out that this ‘is unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.’ Subsequently, the Bank released a statement saying that it ‘recognises the concerns raised about the discovery of traces of

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