A contribution from Zootecnica International – Italy

We receive (from Italy) an interesting and well-balanced editorial from Lucio Vernillo, editor-in-chief of Zootecnica International, an authoritative trade publication that covers technical topics, but in this editorial he deals with a subject in tune with M.A.C.’s intentions and objectives with simplicity, clarity and synthesis. That is why we publish it with pleasure.

We hope you enjoy reading it, and we are looking forward as always to other contributions, comments, observations, questions… which you can send us by going to this link:


“The negative effects caused to the entire poultry sector by a documentary   broadcast in January on the Italian television programmeReport” should make us once again reflect on the erroneous communication approach we have, so far, had towards the consumer. TheReport” case is the most recent example.

As early as the 1960s, when chicken meat began to be produced on an industrial scale, scandalous articles have appeared in Italian newspapers trying to discredit poultry farming. One of the most frequent allegations was that chickens and turkeys were being fed hormones. Apart from the ethical aspect, it was enough to reply by explaining that, given, the short growing cycle of poultry flocks the cost of using hormones could not be justified. Regretfully, none of the main poultry producers replied to this criticism.

The ignorance on the subject was such that even several doctors advised against poultry meat for the same reason. Such ignorance still reigns supreme among most consumers. For decades, advertising has helped shape the collective imagination, evoking happy chickens and hens outdoors. The importance of documenting the great and rapid evolution of the large scale poultry sector was not best explained. The ability the industry has shown for producing products aimed at satisfying new market needs, changing food styles and guaranteeing the hygienic-sanitary safety of the products seems to have been undervalued.

The big players in the sector have not responded to the accusations from animal rights activists, greens and vegans etc. There has been an overall lack of cohesion between producers, both at national and European level, to avoid regulations that have also penalized consumers. Legislators have let themselves be influenced more by political currents than by scientific opinions. In the name of presumed sustainability or animal and human welfare, absurd regulations have been created on GMOs, antibiotics, organic farming and free-range farming.

It would have been much more correct to explain that there is almost no genetically modified product in the world and that no negative effects have ever been found in humans. It would have been much more appropriate to illustrate that over the last few years the consumption of antibiotics has decreased by 80% and that, as for humans, when serious illnesses arise, these drugs cannot be eliminated. The term ‘organic’ has been given an improper definition, exploited as for GMOs, for marketing reasons.

As for outdoor farms, it would be timely to point out the greater risks of pathogens in this type of farming. It would also be appropriate to highlight the difficulties in providing outdoor space for 6 billion chickens slaughtered every year in Europe and about 350 million hens which is the current European production figures. It should be remembered that thanks to genetics, breeding technologies, animal feed, slaughtering and product processing technology, chicken has been on everyone’s table for years. We should be explaining, guided by the principles of democracy, that also in the food sector there are products on the market that cost less and others are more expensive, and we should be explaining the reasons for the differences, starting from the essential principle of safety and healthiness for both types.”


Lucio Vernillo – Publisher of Zootecnica International


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