Whilst many dismiss the concerns of this country’s farmers about future trade deals and the effect of Brexit upon this country’s farming and agriculture industries, simply because majority of English farmers voted to leave the EU; the reality is that those voting for Brexit, did NOT vote for reduction of food and agricultural standards, food safety standards and animal husbandry standards.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) is leading the way in demanding that the Government does not allow the importation of meat and poultry from countries such as the USA which does not meat the UK’s current standards, which lead the world in producing sustainable, ethically produced food along with animal welfare standards ahead of most countries.
Today 25th February 2020, at their annual conference, the NFU’s President, Minette Batters, laid down the gauntlet in a detailed and wholeheartedly delivered speech to the Government and DEFRA, demanding support for British food and agricultural standards, animal welfare standards, and the banning of chlorinated chicken and beef full of anti-biotics and growth hormones.
Her comments come after the Government reneged on previous statements by Boris Johnson about Chlorinated Chicken, with Environmental Minister refusing to state that the lowering of the UK’s food safety standards would not occur and that Chlorinated Chicken would not be allowed to be imported into the UK as part of a UK/US trade deal.
Minette Batters made it clear that all of the above should NOT be on the table of any trade deal negotiations. Indeed, she asked why would any minister for the environment and farming even consider allowing sub-standard produce.
Freelance writer, Otto English on Twitter said of Chlorinated Chicken:
‘Very important this. Chlorinated chicken is chlorinated because the US has no.... and let me repeat that word "NO" animal welfare standards for poultry at all. Carcasses are riven with bacteria and the USA has considerably more deaths from food poisoning than EU.’
Whilst Hilda Palmer from Greater Manchester Hazards, added:
“And it comes as part of a toxic system. At processing plants lines run so fast workers wear nappies as can't go to toilet. Rushing to draw out guts results in punctures and bacterial faecal, contamination of carcasses.. Hence need for chlorine washing.”
In her 20 minute speech, Minette Batters said:
“This year the government must show Global Leadership insist that UK Farm standards are The Benchmark for climate friendly farming around the world and that whoever wants to trade with us trades on our terms and we must not allow those standards to be undermined by Imports of goods, which would be illegal for our Farmers to produce here.”
“In other parts of the world abattoirs use chlorine or other chemicals to wash carcasses not allowed in Britain because we have legislation on the way. We keep our livestock limiting stocking density and we have rules on biosecurity lighting diet Veterinary oversight in the US and other countries. There are no federal controls on what are deemed in the UK to be fundamental welfare requirements.”
Warning the public of the state of farming and food production in other countries, she argued:
“In Brazil Farmers don't need of Acts prescription for animal medicines and don't need to record treatments. There is no legislation in many parts of the world on the use of these drugs. In fact many feedlot systems are reliant on the prophylactic use of antibiotics and in Japan Australia, China Canada, Brazil, Malaysia and India, the use of antibiotics is permitted for growth promotion.
This isn't hysteria. This isn't mumbo-jumbo. This is fact.”
She went further and challenged the Government’s trade deal policies:
“To sign up to a trade deal which results in Opening Our ports shelves and fridges to food, which would be illegal to produce here will not only be morally bankrupt. It would be the work of the insane.
This goes wider than what's good for farming. This is about what's good for Britain!
So when the prime minister or any member of government is overseas discussing trade are asked is that they start promoting British foods and the values we hold here about safety quality and Welfare.
Why would you actively encourage opportunities for countries where foot-and-mouth is endemic to have their beef as a centerpiece on our tables? This is a time to remember our food Journey. We now have the food standards Act of 1999 the outcome of which was the establishment of an independent food standards agency and red tractor Assurance in 2000 in the last 20 years.
As we've created one of the safest shortest and most responsive food supply chains in the world.”
The most salient statement and question she asked was with regard to the current debates over legislation:
"If the government is serious about animal welfare and Environmental Protection and doing more than any previous government, it must put legislation in the agriculture bill.
Earlier she made it clear that her views were those too of the country as a whole:
“Everything I have said is endorsed by consumer groups and environmentalists the consumer organization, which has just published its latest Insight report which maintains that Above All Else standards of food safety animal welfare and Environmental Protection must at the very least be maintained 60 environmental farming organizations recently joined us and signed a letter to the Prime Minister that it was in the National interest.”
You can read Minette Batters’ full speech to the NFU Conference today, by downloading a transcript here
Source: NFU / Metro