Beware of tourists who are bringing jamon to you.

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Beware of tourists who are bringing jamon to you. 25.05.2019 11:49


The meat industry has never been confined hardly by only financial terms. In this case, politics is not just equal, but it has far more all-embracing meaning and significance than economics. Meat is a mechanism of self-identification. Jews for centuries ignored to eat pork. Hindus are ready to protect their cows from intrusive love meat-eaters right-of-way by lynching them. In the time of the Roman Empire, the first Christians shattered down the market of divine animals. Modern Orthodox affects the seasonality of meat consumption in Russia. Lastly, a small but disproportionately well-represented group in the Russian media and social networks has found an occasion to free its borders with the help of ham. It all begun by the proposal of the National meat Association (NMA) to strengthen control over the importation of meat and dairy products into the country by transferring them into the baggage. The original article on this topic arises in the 'Vedomosti.' The engaging caption about an attainable ban on the import of ham and parmesan; nevertheless, a vivid discussion didn't take place. Let's try to find out why.

A total or partial ban on the import of livestock (and poultry) products by private individuals are in force in many countries of the world, mainly in those countries where the production of meat develops. There is no demand to give a lengthy record — a classic case freshly published by Japan's complete ban on the import of meat and meat products. Those who are going to break this law awaits 'three years of hard labor' or a substantial monetary fine. Does still penal confinement exist in Japan? It prevails unclear, but the possibility to sit behind bars in an ordinary Japanese prison can only attract only to those who love exoticism.

Why are constraints so severe? The bans imposed versus the backdrop of a critical epizootic situation - livestock farmers around the world who were overwhelmed by a wave of threatening diseases. Some diseases like pathogenic avian influenza and African swine fever (ASF) attains out. If these viruses infect a massive complex, all animals are obedient to the forced slaughter; losses can amount to billions of rubles. Notwithstanding all measures of protection, in Russia, industrial enterprises periodically become victims of both avian flu and ASF. For illustration, in the summer of 2018, about 40% of pigs were slaughtered in the Kaliningrad region. The media wrote concerning a sharp growth in prices in the area. Following such a disaster in Kaliningrad, nearly all the meat in the region produces at industrial enterprises. Now the situation is under control. Bird flu crushed one of the industry's largest enterprises of growing turkey production in the Rostov region. Later it caused unprecedented volatility in wholesale prices for this type of meat: rates for fillets started from 140 rubles/kg to 340 rubles/kg.

But how does it link with the tourists? Sometimes it is considerably challenging to find out the source of the disease, but it is a well-spoken fact how ASF came to Europe for the first time. From its name, it is clear that African pigs have been carrying off the virus since the dawn of time. In 1957, a plane flew from Angola to Portugal. After that landing in Lisbon, all food that was of the onboard tossed to the pigs. That is how began the ASF epidemic in Europe. From that first epidemic and could not get rid of it completely. The virus remained in Sardinia. One plane, one cutlet - tens of years of hard work of thousands of people, tens of millions of pigs exterminated, many billions of losses resulted. Any draconian measures on the border need by this case alone. Of course, to impose a total ban is much easier than checking every bag of meat. Would that be enough? Certainly not.

The initiative of the NMA is not a reason to talk about the uncontrolled lobbying of large Russian companies. That is a signal to discuss the most constraining problems of national security. You can live without jamon, but it will be much more challenging to live without cheap pork and chicken. Constant supplies of meat in the presence of dangerous diseases in the country and abroad cannot be guaranteed. The ban on the import of meat and meat products from abroad affects a small segment of the population. However, the multiple rises in the price of meat will hurt the poor people, who are enormously more in Russia. The interests of the 1% of travelers for whom the ban on the importation of meat in luggage matters, can not outweigh the well-being of the remaining 99% of the people.

By the beginning of the discussion on the ban, it has far much complex debate. What about the private subsidiary farms (PSF)? They are much more likely to become a source of infection because of their complete insecurity? China is suffering a real pandemic of ASF. Before that, the Chinese had to fight a severe epidemic of avian influenza. And all this is a direct consequence of the obsolete structure of production, where PSF, if not dominant, then play an equal role with industrial complexes. Having dealt with diseases inside the borders, Russia could take advantage of the situation and significantly increase meat exports. Although while exporting enterprises will be surrounded by ready at any time to "break out" PSF, the probabilities for increasing supplies abroad will remain doubtful.

Russian society is not enthusiastic about discussing the necessity of inculcation of restrictions. In the right way, we're lack of propaganda. Shouldn't we start by placing banners with the following meaning like "ASF kills" on the websites of all Federal and regional agencies related to agriculture and food? That is what precisely the international epizootic Bureau has done quite recently. The scandal with hamon revealed to us that we, citizens of one state, do not have enough mutual respect.

Furthermore, this is a much more severe threat than ASF and avian influenza combined. However, let's not take away the bread (or ham) from the political scientists. The investigation of this problem lies far away from the industry posts.


The author is the Director-General of the National Union of poultry producers.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the editor's.