Animals farmed: insects for lunch, £2bn for mink farmers and the future of male chicks

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Welcome to our monthly roundup of the biggest issues in farming and food production, with must-read reports from around the web

French president Emmanuel Macron has said Europe should grow its own soy and that to depend on Brazilian soy “would be to condone deforestation of the Amazon”. The EU is the second largest importer of Brazil’s agricultural products after China, and Brazil is seeking to expand exports with a trade deal with the EU. More than 1m tonnes of soya used by UK livestock farmers to produce chicken and other food could be linked to deforestation, according to Guardian reports last year.

Outbreaks of bird flu continue to be reported across Europe, with hundreds of cases in poultry in France, Germany and Poland. Sweden was reported to be planning to cull about 1.3 million chickens after bird flu was found on a farm. There have been more than 20 bird flu cases on commercial poultry farms in the UK with all birds, including free-range ones, now required to be housed indoors. In Asia, South Korea is reported to be culling 19 million poultry to control bird flu outbreaks in the country.

Denmark is offering more than £2bn in compensation to mink farmers following its decision to cull millions of animals over fears that a Covid-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines. Denmark had been the world’s largest exporter of mink fur, but has now suspended farming of the animals until 2022. Sweden has also paused mink fur farming for a year, and there have been calls to ban the practice in Spain. A Covid-19 vaccine for mink could, however, soon be available to breeders. In the US, officials have recommended workers on US mink farms to be given the vaccine as a priority.

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