The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) on Thursday dismissed the European Union’s (EU’s) concerns that South Africa was not monitoring the use of prohibited medicines and growth hormones in poultry and other animal species.
While briefing the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry at Parliament on Tuesday, EU trade and economics counsellor Dessislava Choumelova said these matters were seriously concerning.
However, Sapa argued that the allegations by the EU were designed to cast “false aspersions” on the practices of local producers.
“In any event, most of the medicines we do use were developed in the EU or the US and are merely registered in South Africa. What the EU uses is generally what we use. Producers also subscribe to Sapa’s code of conduct.
“There are no growth hormones available for use in poultry anywhere in the world and, therefore, also not in South Africa,” CEO Kevin Lovell said in a statement.
He further added that no growth hormones were registered under any of the two main statutory bodies governing stock remedies and medicines for use in poultry production – neither orally, nor through injection routes.
Lovell also argued that advances in the growth performance of the modern broiler chicken have been achieved through the genetic selection of superior poultry stock coupled with advances in animal nutrition aimed at optimising the performance of the birds.
“There has been a 50% improvement in feed use efficiency and a 400% increase in growth rate over the last 60 years in broilers.”
Bird management practices such as sanitation, lighting, ventilation, temperature, space and water have also been aligned with modern genetics and farming methods and, together with veterinary approved vaccines and poultry health medication, bird welfare and growth rates are optimised without the use of growth hormones.
“We are a better producer than most EU countries and a cheaper producer than all of them,” Lovell said.