High food safety and animal health and welfare standards have been highlighted by Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom as potential unique selling points (USPs) of UK livestock in the post-Brexit era.
Ms Leadsom told an NFU fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that she wanted the UK livestock industry to be an “exemplar” to the rest of the world, with the country’s USPs being based on the highest standards of animal welfare, the highest standards of animal welfare and the highest standards of food traceability.
Despite the Defra Secretary’s claims, however, NPA’s Lizzie Wilson, who attended the meeting, commented that what she heard in Birmingham had done little to reassure the industry about the potential post-Brexit threat of low standard imports.
“We were interested to hear Defra’s plans to incentivise high standards,” said Ms Wilson, adding that while this could have obvious benefits, the industry’s concern is that higher standards across the board, outside of the niche premium schemes, have not historically fed back to producers in terms of higher price.
“We will also continue to press for support under a new farm policy, alongside tax incentives, to encourage and allow farmers to invest in new buildings and equipment to improve animal health and welfare and reduce reliance on antibiotics.”