The Times has published a letter from NFU President Minette Batters highlighting that animal welfare is the main priority for thousands of farms across the country. It comes in response to an article which criticised animal welfare in farming.
Your article Cruel Country is completely right that poor animal welfare practices have no place within the UK farming industry. However, it must be acknowledged that the incidents mentioned are in no way reflective of the tens of thousands of farms across the country where animal welfare is the main priority and where standards are high, rigorous and transparent.
British farmers are proud to adhere to some of the highest animal welfare regulations in the world. Whether they rear cattle, sheep, poultry or pigs, farmers are reliant on happy, healthy and productive animals to make a living.
It is therefore incredibly frustrating, and thoroughly misleading, to be compared to countries like China where animal welfare standards fall way below our own legal requirements and the way we look after livestock on British farms.
In the UK, poor animal welfare practices remain rare. This does not excuse or justify these incidents – they are unacceptable and should be dealt with robustly. But implying that these rare examples are indicative of the wider industry is unfair and misleading.
There are many tens of thousands of hard working, caring family farms throughout Britain – in every village and town – who care passionately about their livestock and champion high animal welfare. These farms are the norm and are the bedrock of high quality British livestock farming.