Who is Who?

Brad Freking is CEO and managing partner of New Fashion Pork, a top-25 producer of pork in the US with operations in Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. Note: New Fashion Pork has nothing to do with fashion. Freking has a keen eye for global developments in the meat industry.

Trent Loos, a sixth generation U.S. rancher based in Central Nebraska. With his Loos Tales, he is dedicated to bridging the gap between rural and urban America. His radio program is broadcasted by 100 stations in 19 states, reaching out to 3 million listeners.

Annechien ten Have runs a family pig farm (Hamletz), arable farm and a biogas plant in province of Groningen in the north-east of The Netherlands. Hamletz® is a new brand of pork from a Dutch pig breed with animal-friendly housing and energy-neutral operations. She is well known in the world of meat.

We also have a farm that focusses on animal welfare. It is called old fashion pork. This is the least sustainable of all our farms
What is sustainable?
Annechien ten Have has a simple definition of sustainability, “so people can understand. In a nutshell it is being good for the animal, for the farmer, and for the environment.” Interestingly, she has difficulty in finding consumers who are willing to pay for welfare and sustainability. Annechien developed a pig variety that produces tasty meat and added flavor to her concept of sustainability.

Brad Freking holds an American perspective on sustainability. He admits it is a difficult question to answer, since everyone has a different definition. “It’s doing the most with least.”

“The term sustainability has been highjacked”, Trent Loos states passionately. “True sustainability is that we continue to produce a tasty and desirable protein product for consumers. A product they are willing to afford and have access to.” Trent is frustrated. In his opinion, farmers define sustainability. Not marketing companies, retailers, and restaurants that are “now trying to establish sustainability programs so that farmers can become sustainable. Farmers have continued generation after generation to find a way to produce more with less.” In a way farming, as Trent defines it, is the quintessence of sustainability.

Animal welfare
Brad feels Annechien wrongly includes animal wellbeing in her definition of sustainability. “We also have a farm that focusses on animal welfare", Brad says "It is called old fashion pork. This is the least sustainable of all our farms.” Brad prefers intensive pork husbandry by far. Across the pond of the Atlantic, there is a big divide on sustainability.

What is your opinion on sustainability in the World of Meat? Let's discuss the perspective from a range of nationalities across the world.

Animal Welfare in The Netherlands: the Star System
Annechien ten Have briefly mentioned the star system for animal welfare in The Netherlands.

In 2007 the Dutch organization Dierenbescherming (The Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals) introduced the Better Life Label. This system stimulates the improvement of animal welfare in animal husbandry systems for the production of meat, dairy and eggs. From animal genetics and farmers to supermarkets (and all links in between), everything is monitored to ensure the whole process is in line with the criteria outlined by the Dierenbescherming.

Up to three stars can be found on the packaging of animal products. In general, the more stars, the more space and better ‘derivation material’. However, the exact standards vary amongst types of animal. The three levels provide the possibility to improve animal welfare step by step.

World of Meat
A new story line on IFAMA: World of Meat. This is the first panel in this series. It provides an interesting view on differences across the pond.

The story line is still under construction. We need your input! Next month we will organize a webinar to discuss the World of Meat. Let’s decide together the content of this story line.