UK must work together to uphold animal welfare standards


NBA General Manager Neil Shand

NBA General Manager Neil Shand

“The recent press has been largely negative about the Australia trade deal, although as of yet we don’t really have any ideas on the finer details,” said Neil Shand, Managing Director of National Beef Association (NBA).

But he said the trade deal is happening whether the farmers want it or not.

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“Rather than spending our energy fighting the inevitable, we should make sure that safeguards are in place to maintain production standards. We have to be realistic and accept that we have to import beef – and of course we also export a reasonable amount. “

However, Shand said the deal has opened a much larger debate on how to resolve the dilemmas of beef production in the UK.

“Rumors of a few decentralized UK governments seem to imply that they want – or will – reduce domestic production to help them meet their carbon targets in their own countries.”

He said that although these rumors were not confirmed, they were ideas “on the table”. But he rejected any notion that cutting production would reduce overall consumption, adding that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all exported 60-70% of their beef production to England.

“Any reduction in domestic production will mean the beef deficit has to be covered elsewhere, opening the door to more imports from Australia, and the corresponding increase in carbon than transporting across the world. involved.”

He said that meant decentralized “carbon-friendly” governments would simply shift their emissions elsewhere. “And this local threat can be much more damaging to British beef production in the long run than the Australian deal,” he warned.

Decentralized governments that condemned Westminster for the trade deal, he advised, should first get their own homes in order – “and the mathematicians” -.

“Declining domestic production will open doors to all imports, not just Australians. A national herd of almost 1.4 million suckler cows is currently needed to meet our import needs.

“It is imperative that our decentralized governments realize the need for a British approach, not an individual one. Alternatively, we will be faced with the ludicrous scenario where we produce less premium beef in the UK to meet questionable carbon targets, but ship inferior product across the world. “

Shand said it was imperative to maintain support for the recognition that imports from Australia or elsewhere were produced to a minimum of UK welfare and production standards, and that imports from substandard quality was not used to drive down our local prices.

“We currently have the support of the British general public, and maintaining that support is of major importance.”

Meanwhile, the RSPCA has warned the deal could set a damaging precedent for deals with other countries, leading to a race to the bottom – with imports of beef from huge feedlots and washed chickens. high chlorine in unsanitary conditions.

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