Friends of the Earth hit back at NFU livestock claims

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) has hit back at a series of points made in criticism of its Sustainable Livestock Bill by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Although FoE has welcomed the support the NFU gives to the Bill by calling it ‘admirable’, it has added that the NFU is ‘incorrect’ in suggesting the Bill fails to take account of existing initiatives.

A FoE spokesperson said: “Friends of the Earth has met with the NFU and has taken on board many of their comments such as the need to recognise the industry’s efforts, to not over-regulate and export production, jobs and problems overseas, and the need to address food waste.”

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “First and foremost this Bill represents policy aspiration, not law. I believe the UK government, present or future, should be free to develop its policy on the sustainability of the food and farming sector, working in partnership with industry and other interested organisations, as it sees fit.”

FoE responded: "This is not a problem as under this Bill, the Government would be free to develop policy - as long as they considered it made livestock more sustainable. No part of the Bill prevents partnership working as the Government sees fit. The NFU need to give specifics about their concern on this.”

It concluded: “Friends of the Earth have promoted this Bill to stimulate action to address the global impacts of our livestock production and consumption which are significant. Existing initiatives and policies are inadequate to the task and we hope people will see the benefits of the Bill’s holistic approach which looks at the whole food chain and which will promote sustainable farming incomes.”

>>NFU refuses to back Friends of the Earth Livestock Bill

>>Editor’s Comment