Cornwall Council’s Liberal Democrat group have denounced Conservative MPs for voting to lower food standards in a debate in the Commons (12th October 2020).
The Agriculture Bill: Lords Amendment was a House of Lords amendment designed to ensure that agricultural and food imports meet UK domestic standards for welfare and quality. Cornish Conservative MPs voted against the bill, harming their farming communities.
Cornwall Liberal Democrats have launched a petition calling on the Government not to sign a trade deal with the USA that would expose British farmers to cheap food imports, lower UK animal welfare and food production standards and damage the environment.
Currently the UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but if the Conservative Agriculture Bill is passed, it would allow practices currently banned in the UK including:
- The production of eggs from hens kept in battery cages.
- The chlorine washing of chicken.
- The treatment of cattle and pigs with growth hormones.
It would also mean:
- British farmers having to compete against cheaper imports that have been produced to a lower welfare standard, putting many UK farmers out of business.
- The British public eating meat, eggs and dairy products produced to lower animal welfare standards than are currently allowed.
- An increase in food miles and greenhouse gases because of import distances and the intensive farming systems.
Sadly, not one of the six Tory MPs in Cornwall felt able to support the amendment to the UK Agriculture Bill which would have guaranteed the preservation of British standards. They have let Cornwall down badly.
Danny Chambers, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for North Cornwall and local veterinary surgeon said:
““As a vet who grew up on a local farm, I’ve been campaigning on this issue for a long time.
“I can assure you that the UK veterinary profession is bitterly disappointed that the Tory MPs in Cornwall broke their election promises to protect our animal welfare and food production standards.
“Cheap imports from the USA would mean Cornish farmers having to compete with low welfare, low standard products. This will certainly put smaller family farms at risk. Our MPs should be supporting British farmers, not selling them out.
“Not only are farmers and vets proud that we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but so are the British public, and we should not compromise those.”
Adam Paynter, Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council said:
“The UK has the best standards in the world, and they will be completely irrelevant if we allow ministers to strike trade deals that lead to imported goods with lower production, animal welfare, environmental & labour standards.
“As a farmer, I strive to uphold the highest welfare and quality standards, but Cornish Tory MPs are voting for lower food and farming standards in Cornwall.”