The red meat segment is in turmoil in Canada and Australia. In the Alberta province of the former, the practice of fire branding animals is questioned: “We do it too much, they are no longer necessary”, objects a veterinarian. Meanwhile, Canberra’s livestock industry achieves positive results in the exports of bovine and ovine products. Only exception: goats.
The debate emerges from local print sources. According to Livestock Identification Service, about 50% of calves in the province of Alberta, undergoes the fire branding procedures. The number, highlights online portal canada.com, is well above the average of other nations, which is of circa 10%. For this reason, Roy Lewis, well-experienced veterinarian, felt the duty to intervene by writing on the Alberta Farmer Express’ columns and encouraging farmers to match their practices with the time they live in. Fire branding (which is also decreasing in the USA), is an invasive and definitive method that compromises the animal’s hide, he observes, while on the market there are many other valid methods to use, such as the GPS tracking-tags.
During the fiscal year that ended in June, red meat exports from Australia grew by 7% (on yearly base), while lamb and mutton grew 2% and 17% respectively. Goat exports, on the other hand, lost 27%. According to the category association MLA, the segment benefitted from weak local dollar value and shift in consumption in Africa and Asia (mostly China, where there is currently swine fever).