Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Gove announces review of farm inspection regime

GETTYFarmers will be rewarded for raising welfare standards under Michael Gove's proposals GETTYFarmers will be rewarded for raising welfare standards under Michael Gove's proposals
Patty Aguilar | 20 February, 2018, 19:43

"It's unjustifiable that in the country that first guaranteed universal mail provision, which invented the telephone, the television and pioneered the world wide web that broadband provision is so patchy and poor in so many areas", Mr Gove told the National Farmers Union's annual conference in Birmingham.

He will point to how the countryside of Devon and Somerset is shaped by dairy farmers and how Cumbria, Northumberland, the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales would not be "breathtakingly beautiful" and resilient without upland farmers. "But farmers would not be in a position to provide these public goods, indeed we would not have the countryside we all cherish, without successful, productive, profitable farm businesses".

The Environment secretary will say that improved animal welfare standards will be one of the "public goods" which will attract more Government funding.

"We have a high baseline for animal health standards, which we will continue to enforce".

He also sought to offer farmers and food and drink producers assurances on trade, stressing that "we will not lower environmental or animal welfare standards as part of any new trade deals".

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Before Mr Gove's speech, NFU president Meurig Raymond said the United Kingdom must not walk away from its biggest market of 450 million customers in the EU.

"Given that the majority of those who farm the uplands could not survive without the Basic Payment Scheme, Michael Gove isn't helping by keeping people guessing - they need more than just warm words from the secretary of state".

He will add that Brexit will allow for the design of better policies for the UK's £110 billion food and farmer sector. The NFU President says this constitutes one which means British farming and food production builds on the £112 billion it already contributes to the economy and supporting jobs for nearly 4 million people, has access to a reliable workforce to harvest produce and sees Britain's self-sufficiency in food increase. "We have the climate and soil, we have the knowledge and desire, and we have the Red Tractor".

"It's easy to make vague pledges for the future - but right now Gove's announcing a possible extension to the cruel and ineffective badger cull, and Liam Fox is desperately seeking trade deals which could undermine our food standards and drive down animal welfare". "Britain's farms need access to the European Union market, we need access to a reliable workforce and we need measures to help our food and farming industry be more productive".

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