Allen 2There were a number of important opinions on this afternoon’s plenary agenda, and it’s always invidious to single out one for special attention. Nevertheless, an opinion on the future strategy for the EU’s dairy industry (rapporteur: Frank Allen, an Irish member of the Various Interests Group) caught my ear and my eye. One striking statistic in Frank’s introductory presentation explains why milk is such an important topic for the EU. The European Union is responsible for 27% of the world’s annual production of milk. In second place comes India, with 20%. The United States is third, with 16%. Whenever the EU debates agricultural issues, the arguments are as much about cultural and social identity as they are about economics, and this occasion was no different. As Frank pointed out, large scale feedlots, with over 2,000 cattle on ‘a patch of sand’ and dependent only on foodstuffs and chemicals rather than grazing, are already a reality in the US. Whatever the future of the EU dairy industry, it cannot be – shouldn’t be – this.