Aled Davies - Alternatives to antibiotics in agriculture
I’m 44 years old, and live in Carmarthenshire with my wife Caryl and two children, Caradog and Gwenno. At heart, I’m a farmer, but I realised at a young age that there were considerable obstacles to entering the industry from a small family farm base. However, if farming is in your blood, you can’t keep away. I therefore studied, initially for an HND in Agricultural Marketing at Harper Adams Agricultural College, and then with the aid of a financial scholarship from the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, (RWAS), for a degree in Agri-food marketing, again at Harper Adams. I’m delighted that the RWAS are sponsoring my Nuffield scholarship. I gained tremendously from their earlier investment in me, and went on to become a Chartered Marketer via the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Like me, during my time at secondary school, some of my teachers would hardly believe such academic prowess was achievable.
I’m the Deputy Managing Director of Animax Limited. We manufacture Animal Health products form our base near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. I started with Animax ten years ago as a salesman in Wales and the South West of England. My progression within the company, from Marketing Manager, Export Manager, and Operations Director to my current role has mirrored the pace of market penetration for our existing products. Animax is a dynamic, fun, and a stimulating business to work within, the whole ethos of the company being based on efficacy. One of the highlights for me to date has been the development and implementation of a market penetration strategy to target the sale of our existing products to the Dairy industry, in the UK, and overseas. Having moved from niche to mainstream in the UK, the sight of a consignment of product on its way to New Zealand was fantastic. The repeat container, better still.
Outside of work, sport and family time are paramount. I was a keen rugby player, and developed leadership skills during my playing career. I love giving something back to the game. I’m one of Llandeilo Rugby Club’s under 13’s coaches. Experiencing advancement in skill and personal attributes of the squad gives me a great feeling. Whilst I’m able to contribute tactically to rugby, I also coach the Llandeilo under 13’s at football, a game I have never played competitively. Here my contribution is purely motivational. My son plays both games, my daughter plays netball. Whilst I enjoy observing her contribution to the game, my duties are those of a glorified taxi driver.
The farmers of the United Kingdom, and indeed the European Union, compete for market share in a volatile global market. Often, the world price dictates the returns achievable from the production of generic products such as milk, meat, both red and white, and even fish.
Prophylactic use of antibiotics are banned within the EU, whereas in other regions, such as Australia and New Zealand there is a degree of regulation which enables certain antibiotics to be used prophylactically. In America prophylactic use of antibiotics, growth hormones and even B-agonists are the norm. Total deregulation is also known in Asia. These disease preventing products are all known to generate considerable production increases. The farmers of the EU are therefore at a production disadvantage, and don’t seem to achieve a premium for their generic products, which have not received such prophylactic treatments. I want to study the alternatives to antibiotics, to ascertain what strategies the farmers of the UK and EU can adopt to bridge the production increases achieved by partial or total deregulated prophylactic use of antibiotics by other farmers around the world.
I hope to travel in Europe, Northern and Southern America, and Oceania.