A vote in the European Parliament in Brussels this week could decide whether feed for pigs, chickens and farmed fish should include “processed animal proteins” (PAP).
The move has been proposed in a report from the parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
MEPs are being urged to vote yes to protect Europe from rising food prices and populations. Livestock are currently being fed soya grown – at vast environmental cost – and exported from South America.
But the move will raise concerns among consumers who remember the BSE outbreak in the UK during the late 1980s and early 1990s, which first precipitated the Europe-wide ban on PAP in animal feed.
BSE (bovine sponigform encephalopathy) or “mad-cow disease” was linked to the use in livestock feed of meat and bone meal from slaughtered animals, which in turn has been linked to Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), a degenerative neurological disorder in humans.
As a result the report has advised that herbivores such as cows and sheep should not be fed animal products.
Kelly Watson of the National Farmers’ Union said the move was “not something consumers or retailers are ready to accept”.