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July 2013
Meatless Monday Myths
She describes herself as a livestock sustainability consultant, passionate about sustainability issues and the role of animal agriculture in helping to feed a hungry world. Jude Capper lives in Montana, USA, and is a former vegan who now passionately uses scientific evidence to defend beef production, technology and the various myths that exist around the global Meatless Monday campaign.
Capper was in South Africa recently as guest speaker of the South African Feedlot Association at the 2013 Cattleman’s Conference held in Pretoria.
In 2011, The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US based environmental health research and advocacy organization, released a report claiming that everybody should eat less meat and dairy products in order to mitigate climate change.
Called “Meatless Mondays”, this campaign encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health, as well as the health of the planet. The premise of the campaign is that beef production is contributing to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, facts which Capper is only too happy to dispute.
Furthermore the report stated that if consumers were going to eat meat, they should choose “meat, eggs and dairy products that are certified organic, humane and/or grass-fed as they are generally the least environmentally damaging”.
The report demonstrates a lack of basic livestock knowledge - The EWG’s promotion of organic or grass-fed systems as having a low environmental impact is ironic given that such systems actually have a greater carbon footprint compared to their conventional counterparts, according to Capper’s research.
Capper also questions the basis and source of many of the statistics being used by this campaign to justify its cause. For one, the EWG claims that national carbon emissions would be reduced by 4.5 percent if everyone in the U.S. chose a vegetarian diet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, cites livestock production (including poultry and horses) as accounting for only 3.1 per cent of total U.S. emissions.
“Let’s do the maths based on the EPA numbers. The EWG report focuses on the impact of red meat and dairy, so if we remove poultry and horses from the EPA’s 3.1 per cent figure, we get a total red meat and dairy impact of 3.05 per cent. Divide that by 7, and the impact of one meatless day per week is equal to 0.44 per cent of the U.S. carbon footprint – and that’s assuming that the U.S. population of 311 million people all adopt this lifestyle change. 0.44 per cent is minuscule. It’s a tiny fraction of the impact that we could make on the national carbon footprint,” Capper explains.
Capper says she firmly believes that any production system has a role within agriculture provided that it is environmentally conscientious, economically viable and socially acceptable, and that the beef industry must still continue to demonstrate its dedication to reducing its environmental impact to remain a viable consumer choice. To this end, she says that technological advances in red meat production over the last few decades have greatly reduced the environmental impact of red meat globally.
The beef industry has improved productivity, with cattle growing faster and being finished at heavier weights. Between 1977 and 2007, this reduced the carbon footprint of a pound of beef by 18 per cent, with affiliated reductions in land use, water use and energy use. Capper concludes that grain-fed beef production is sustainable and will stay sustainable through continuous improvement.
Capper also disputes the fact that not eating meat for one day is necessarily advantageous to one’s health. She says that:
·         Certain plants can contain more hormones than meat, depending on how they are farmed and produced
·         200g lean beef contains 13.5 times more zinc than in 200g of salmon
·         200g lean beef contains as much iron as 7.2 cups of raw spinach
·         200g lean beef contains 4.5 times more riboflavin as 200g of tuna
·         200g lean beef contains 7.5 times more Vitamin B12 as 200g chicken breasts
“Forget demonizing specific foods, or suggesting that one single action can save the planet. We need to understand and quantify how all our choices have consequences – and act accordingly,” Capper says.
Capper is an Assistant Professor of Dairy Science in the Department of Animal Sciences at Washington State University (WSU). Born in the UK, she undertook her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harper Adams University College (UK) before doing post-doctoral research at Cornell University. Her current position is split between teaching, extension and research, with her research focusing on modelling the environmental impact of livestock production systems. Current research includes comparisons of historical and modern production practices in dairy and beef industries; and the effect of technology use and management practices upon environmental impact. Read more about Jude Capper at http://bovidiva.com/


May 2011

Van die voorsitter
Goeie jaar vir bedryf verwag

Louw van Reenen van Beefmaster op Christiana in Noordwes, is die SA Voerkraalvereniging se nuwe voorsitter. Hy is positief oor die toekoms van die bedryf ten spyte van die swaard van siektes soos bek-en-klouseer wat oor die bedryf se kop hang. "Die sterk beesvleisprys is goeie nuus vir die voerkraalbedryf omdat daar nou meer kontant in omloop is, maar speenkalfpryse het natuurlik ook gestyg. Hoewel die bedryf siklies van aard is en beesvleispryse soos elke jaar in die winter laer neig, voorsien ek 'n goeie jaar vir die bedryf." Lees meer

Dr Hinner Köster

A word from our sponsor
Animate Animal
Health signs exclusivity agreement

Huvepharma®, a privately-owned global pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria with other main offices in Belgium, has appointed South African company, Animate Animal Health (Pty) Ltd, as official exclusive distributor of the company's products for the South African and Sub Saharan markets.

This include the complete range of registered Huvepharma, South Africa animal health and performance enhanced additive products," says Dr Hinner Köster, technical director of Animate.

This has been effective from September 2010. Growth in the region will come from Huvepharma’s well-known European approved antibiotic and anticoccidial animal product range, performance enhancers, as well as their enzyme range.

Huvepharma® is present in every major market and holds important product registrations in the USA (FDA approved) and in the European Union (Brand Specific Approved). They also partner with all major export-oriented integrators in different parts of the world that value products with a Brand Specific Approval in the EU.
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You will have to take note of the CPA

Producers and traders will have to take note of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) as this act demands total transparency from all role-players in the food production chain, said Ina Wilken, vice-chairperson of the National Consumer Forum at the Cleaver ceremony.

Wilken was the guest speaker at the function. "Consumers have access to a wealth of information through the internet and it is not possible to hide practices that are not to the consumer's linking.
They want to know where their food comes from.

The recent debacle in the chicken industry came about as a result of a consumer complaint,"
Wilken said.

"Consumers demand safe food and good service, quality and hygiene are also important to them. The Consumer Protection Act, which was introduced on 1 April, will give them unlimited protection. Complaints about food will in future be investigated by consumer protection bodies."
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Conference 2011
Producing feedlot cattle reduces greenhous gases

Producing beef in cattle feedlots reduces greenhouse gases per kilogram of beef, reduces land use per kilogram of beef, and consequently leaves a smaller carbon footprint due to a smaller release of greenhouse gases, said Dr Dave Hutcheson, a USA feedlot consultant from Amarillo in Texas, at the conference.
It is clear the South African feedlot industry is maintaining a very high standard of quality control in their feed. He said he had been a speaker three times previously at the SAFA conference and every year the conference brings new technology to the feedlot industry.
He emphasised a statement by Bill Gates, USA information electronics billionaire that 70% of increased food production needed to come from the use of technologies. Hutcheson said when he first visited the RSA in 1989 the local feedlot industry fed 600-700 thousand head of cattle and the industry was on the brink of huge expansion; today it feeds between 1.5 and 1.6 million. Marketing also developed dramatically – from marketing through government controlled abattoirs on a permit system to feedlots integrated with regional abattoirs and processing plants marketing vacuum packed fresh and frozen beef directly to outlets.
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From the office
Foot and mouth disease: Legal opinion awaited

The red meat industry has for the past years often raised concerns regarding the state of border fences and the serious danger of diseases spreading from neighboring countries to South Africa. The KZN Department recently said: “ We regret allowing the foot and mouth disease fence to fall apart" and in an article Mr Mkhize from the Department said: "The fence started falling apart in the early 1990’s”.
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Market trends
Prices nearing the winter cycle

It seems that prices are nearing the typical winter cycle. Click here to access the latest
• Beef price trends
• Break even statistics
• Chop price trends
• R/c/kg live marketed trends
• Weaner price trends
Record number of consumer nominations received

South Africa's best butcheries, both nationally and regionally, were announced at a luncheon in April attended by senior members of the meat production and retail industry, award finalists, judges and the media.This year saw six national and 41 provincial butcheries winning Platinum or Gold Cleaver Awards. Between October and December 2010, 17 600 public nominations were received via sms, a new record for these awards. Of these, 145 finalists were individually and anonymously assessed against a 212 point checklist.

Butchery standards have improved significantly

Since the Cleaver Awards were introduced six year ago, butchery standards have significantly improved and feedback from consumers show that the majority perceive the Cleaver Awards to be a seal of approval. An initiative of the South African Red Meat Industry Forum, these Awards acknowledge butcheries, which meet consumer expectations on in-store hygiene, the supply of quality assured roller marked South African Beef, their level of competency in offering the best advice on meal preparations and perceived value for money. Read more

They are South Africa's top butcheries

The cleaver Awards were presented in April. Categories are structured according to the size and nature of each butchery, namely: Three or fewer tills, four or more tills and meat markets

There were six national winners and 41 regional winners. Click here to see who South Africa's top butchers are.

Most authoritative competition in the country

Hendrik Steenkamp of Boma Vleismark in Moreletta Park, Pretoria,won Platinum in the Up to 3 Tills Division. He says winning a Cleaver means much to the business as the Cleaver Awards is the most authoritative competion among meat traders. "We display the award in our store and consumers take note," he says. He wants to see more publicity for the winners and believe that consumers must to a greater extent be made aware of the competition and the winners. "I believe that it is a huge achievement to receive a Cleaver," he says.

First time participant took Platinum

First time participant, Martin Gericke of Seemans, Strijdom Park, took the Platinum Award in the Up to 3 Tills Division. "We are very pleased with the award and Seemans will in future again participate," he says. As the outlet is also export approved and also supply to among others, Pick n Pay and Woolworths the store did not have to made changes to its standards. "They have to be high anyway," Gericke says.

Hard work rewarded

The Crossing Super Spar in Nelspuit was awarded Platinum in the Meat Market Division. One of the group's other stores, The Grove Spar also in Nelspruit received Gold in the same division. (See report below.) Manager Susan Oosthuyse says the award rewards the staff's hard work."It proves that we care about our customers and that they can be assured of our good quality. The award is a great honour and means that our hard work is recognised. Our clients are impressed," she says.

Award leads to higher butchery standards

"We regard our Cleaver Award as a highlight," says Shaun Jericevich of the Berliner Grill & Deli in Northriding. The butchery received Gold in the Up to 3 Tills Division. "I believe that the Cleavers result in higher butchery standards and this is good for the industry. The more butcheries participating the better, as this will ensure that standards will increase even more," he said.

Competition has excellent marketing value

Rudi Oosthuyse of the Grove Super Spar in Nelspuit won Gold in the Meat Market Division. They also owe the Crossing Spar in Nelspruit, that won Platinum in the same division. He has received an award for four consecutive years now. "I believe that it is a huge achievement to won a Cleaver and it certainly is good marketing for our stores. This proves to the consumer that they can be assured of the best quality in our stores. We also receive good publicity in the local media," he says.

Award keeps staff on their toes

"We are very pleased with our Cleaver and we received publicity in local newspapers and on radio," says Susan Ludick of the Uitkyk Vleismark in Lichtenburg who received Gold in the 4 and more Tills Division. "People take note of the award. It also ensures that our standards remain high and this keep our staff on their toes," she says.
Highlights of SAFA's 2011 Conference
Conference 2011
New institutions will replace those that have failed

"We are living in a world of failed institutions. For years we believed that people have to serve institutions instead of institutions serving people. But new institutions serving a new democracy, will now emerge," said Prof Mohammad Karan, dean of the Faculty Agricultural Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch," at the conference.
Read more

Conference 2011
Test your strategy against the extreme

It is important to adapt and change your vision and strategy and to test your strategy against extreme variables. Ask what keep you awake at night and then choose the right game, said Clem Sunter, a scenario planner, at the conference. Sunter said that a lot of companies survived the recession better than others because they offered cheaper alternatives. "Farmers must ask themselves how their game has changed and if they have done better or worse." Read more

Conference 2011
Effective trace minerals can reduce your health bill

Feeder cattle's health status is the largest unhedgeable risk in the cattle feeding business. An adequate intake of effective trace minerals can reduce your health bill considerably, said Dr Connie Larson of Zinpro Corporation in the USA at the conference. Minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, cobalt, chromium and selenium play and important role as a lack of these minerals in feedlot diets most likely affect immunity and stress in calves. Read more

Conference 2011
NTB's will require a well organised industry

Non Tariff Barriers (NTB's) may play a more important role than tariffs in future to protect the red meat industry against imports, said Lambert Botha, director of Trade Law Chambers at the conference. These measures could be effective but requires a level of competency in both the government and the industry. "These measures require good management practices and a fair understanding of the rules of the game," he said.
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Conference 2011
Legislation keep South Africans out of jobs

Unemployment is not South Africa's biggest problem. Employment is and legislation is keeping South Africans out of jobs, said Dawie Roodt, senior economist of the Efficient Group, at the conference. "Certain legislation prevent people from starting businesses. The government should collude and not be the biggest competition to job creation. It needs not create jobs but merely take away the obstacles. Economic growth should be the governments' priority but some government policies will not make this happen." Read more

Conference 2011
Change is not a choice for feedlotters

"Change is not choice for the feedlot industry but a matter of survival. You will need to move boundaries." This was the message of Dr Pieter Henning, director for research and development at MS Biotech. Dr Henning said that awareness of the need to move boundaries, and willingness to try new technologies, is a must for survival. "Step-up is a very real boundary, and one which may be moved," he said.
Read more


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