World News – 10 November 2006

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Oz tobacco industry closes

AUSTRALIA’S TOBACCO-GROWING industry is shutting down after the last growers voted to accept a A,9-¬million federal government buyout of their licences. Growers in Victoria voted 118 to 12 to follow their Queensland colleagues in quitting the industry after they were told by British American Tobacco, their major buyer, that it will not be purchasing any more of their tobacco after 2009. British American, which bought three-quarters of the area’s crop, offered the Victoria growers A million to end their contracts two years early. The farmers now will negotiate a buy-out package with Philip Morris, which buys the rest of the crop. The end of Victoria’s A million industry marks the end of tobacco farming in Australia after Queensland’s industry closed down in 2004. “There will be no more tobacco grown in Australia – it’s all over,” said National Party senate leader Ron Boswell. – Alan Harman

‘BSE was preventable’

A QUEBEC FARMER IS SUING THE Canadian government and an Australian-owned feed company, saying they knew how to prevent the spread of BSE a decade before it showed up in Canadian cattle but did nothing. Donald Berneche appeared in the Quebec Superior Court to ask a judge to approve the class action suit against the federal government and Ridley on behalf of all Quebec farmers. His suit claims negligence and inaction led to the crisis that saw international borders closed to Canadian beef, costing Canadian farmers up to C billion. – Alan Harman

Labels for ‘humane’ meat

US GROCERY CHAIN WHOLE FOOD Market is set to launch a line of meat that will carry labels saying “animal compassionate,” assuring consumers the animals were raised in a humane manner until they were slaughtered. This follows a trend in which a growing number of retailers are marketing similar meat and egg ranges, with the packaging claiming “free farmed”, “certified humane” and “cage free”. The products, designed to cater to a niche market, cost almost twice as much as regular meat and eggs. According to the New York Times, this trend has been driven in part by organisations which seek to improve the quality of life for animals, but also claim it is a good way for retailers to offer something their competitors don’t. – Gwenda van Zyl

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