NFU Deputy President Minette Batters has given evidence to the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee inquiry into the implications of Brexit on farm animal welfare.
The committee considered how the Government intended to deliver its stated aim of maintaining high animal welfare standards outside the EU and how the Government could ensure that the UK remains a world leader in welfare standards.
Ms Batters said: “Those who call for cheaper food in the UK post-Brexit are the biggest threat to animal welfare in the UK. It is essential that the Government prioritises animal welfare standards during international trade negotiations.
“We need to ensure that British farmers are not placed at the competitive disadvantage of accepting imported food produced at lower, but internationally legal standards, of animal welfare, competing for the same shelf space and marketed in low cost pricing models.
“The perfect vehicle for promoting on-farm welfare standards already exists, so we would want the government to give its full support to the Red Tractor mark. “
During the two hour discussion, the panel of 14 industry experts informed the committee on the challenges and opportunities the Government will face in maintaining the UK’s role as a global leader in farm animal welfare.
The full panel of industry representatives, academics and NGOs included:
Dr Sophia Hepple, Animal and Plant Health Agency
Gudrun Ravetz, British Veterinary Association
David Clarke, Red Tractor
Chris Mallon, National Beef Association
Phil Stocker Natinal Sheep Association
Dr. Georgina Crayford, National Pig Association
Richard Griffiths, British Poultry Council
Dr. Siobhan Mullan, University of Bristol
Professor Lynn Frewer, Newcastle University
Professor Richard Bennett, University of Reading
Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming
Joe Bailey, Freedom Foods/RSPCA Assured
Mark Williams, British Egg Industry Council.