By David Stenerud
Only this autumn, two new countries of Europe has been introduced to the much feared mad cow disease. First there was Finland, then Austria. The EU wants to do all they can to try preventing further spread. The precautionary principle is used for what its worth, because in the back of the head murks the fear for mad cow's disease's human cousin; CJS - which scientists believe is a result of contamination from cow to man.
Norway has been working hard on excluding fish from the EU-ban on feeding animals with animals. Some attention has the Norwegian argumentation been receiving; fishmeal is excluded from the ban on animal feed to animals which do not fall in the category cloven-hoofed animals. That means, pigs, poultry, fish and fur-creatures can still be given fish-proteins. NorWatch has been in contact with both the Department of Fisheries, College of Veterinarians and Animal Health Ward - none thinks the ban is sensible. EU spokesperson Johan Reyniers also admits:
- Fish cannot have mad cow disease.He explains the background for fishmeal being banned to animals such as cow
and horse that the EU is afraid bone- and flesh-meal will be mixed with the fish meal. A couple of years ago there was found large quantities of false fish meal in Denmark, and it is a widespread opinion that the control is insufficient.
Hans Peter Koppernæs is the managing director i H. Koppernæs and Sons. The company owns fish meal-factories in both Norway (Vedde) and Chile (Lota Protein). Koppernæs much therefore follow two different standards for the use of fish meal. Even so he thinks the ban is undramatic.
Do not sell to cows
- We barely sell to Norwegian agriculture, says the managing director - And in Chile, the fish meal goes to raising pigs and chicken. Some is exported to Asian fish-farming. Together the two factories produce 80000 tons of fish meal annually. Despite technical disputes with the EU, the Department of Fisheries means the whole business is quite undramatic for the Norwegian fish meal-industry:
- No, I can't see that this is a problem, states advisor Bjørn Arne Næss.
- Norway is after all a net-importer of fish meal, most of it from Chile and Peru.
Norwatch Newsletter 12/01