The Walloon Agricultural Federation (“FWA”) is to bring a civil action following fraud cases detected in the VEVIBA abattoirs in Bastogne. The FWA hopes to realise this approach through adopting the so-called “Agrofront”, so as to carry greater weight within the industry.
On Sunday, Yvan Hayez the General Secretary of the FWA, indicated, speaking from one of the federation’s offices, “We have reached a verbal agreement with Boerenbond (the association of farmers), through its President, Sonja De Becker. We are awaiting confirmation from the Algemeen Boerensyndicaat (a trade union specialising in livestock processing).”
The FWA regrets that the “economic [and health] fraud” discovered by VEVIBA brings “the entire [meat] chain” into disrepute. There is a risk of “major economic consequences” for breeders, at a time when the sector is already suffering immense difficulties. The body feels that the industry must “take advantage” of the scandal as an opportunity to reform standards and checks, and to institute “new transparent practices”, as much across the abattoir sector, as the livestock trade in general. Yvan Hayez assured, “The sectors specialising in large-scale distribution, and slaughtering and processing of meat, are on the same wavelength regarding this aspect.”
He says that this set of circumstances should also be the opportunity to reflect upon the development of the AFSCA (the Federal Agency for Food Safety) “so as detect issues upstream,” both for health concerns, and also cases of economic fraud.
As for VEVIBA, the FWA is completely distancing itself from the management, but mentions that the Bastogne infrastructure remains an important tool for the sector within the region. Several meetings are on the agenda for the FWA management next week, specifically with the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Denis Ducarme, and his Walloon counterpart, René Collin. The federation will also communicate as to potential action to be taken in the coming days. Mr Hayez states, “This should be action as opposed to demonstrations.”