A new survey by OnePoll, commission by the National Farmers Union (NFU) has revealed that 85% of people want future trade deals to protect UK farmers from being undercut by cheaper, sub-standard food imports.
The results from the NFU’s annual Farmer Favourability Survey indicate that the public want to see Britain’s climate-friendly, high-welfare way of farming championed both at home and abroad.
Of the respondents, 84% said that trade deals should ensure environmental farming standards for imports are the same as the UK’s and 86% agree that animal welfare standards should match our own.
The survey results also revealed an unwavering support for British food and farming, with 75% of people voicing a positive view of UK farming.
NFU President Minette Batters said this was a clear message from the British public that they value and trust British food.
“They have demonstrated time and time again that animal welfare and sustainability are not things they are going to overlook, whether it’s food produced here or overseas, and it’s important that these values are at the forefront and embedded in every policy decision,” said Ms Batters.
“The survey results are clear – no one wants to see UK farmers being put out of business by food imports that fail to meet our own high animal welfare and environmental standards.
“Yet this remains a real risk, especially if future trade deals with the likes of New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the USA – all major exporters – allow tariff-free access to our markets.
“It’s hard to not think the Australian deal has set a precedent but multiple deals in the same vein will have serious and lasting impacts on Britain’s ability to produce its own food.”
“We recognise the huge role trade plays in determining the future of food production in this country, and the importance of a trade and domestic farm policy that works hand in hand.
“This means that while many will be looking for quick-fix solutions to the climate crisis, as well as a growing health crisis, we must avoid pursuing a trade policy that would exacerbate the global situation by simply incentivising lower standard production abroad.
“Instead, we should promote the UK’s leading role in high-welfare, climate-friendly farming and support our farmers in selling more great British food abroad.”