EU policy threatens UK farming, says NFU
Published:  02 June, 2011

Europe must back British livestock farmers or risk the viability of the UK farming sector, the NFU has warned during a high level debate at the EU Parliament.

The NFU was speaking to European industry leaders and MEPs in Brussels at its Big Livestock debate. The event aims to tackle issues affecting farmers, including the high input costs and the impact of trade liberalisation.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh warned against “knee-jerk regulation” and
said it was vital that the NFU raise the profile of the UK industry. He said that although Britain’s livestock farmers are proud of the standards they have achieved in traceability, high welfare and environmentally friendly farming practices, they are concerned that their efforts could be undermined by poorly thought-out regulation.

He said: “Livestock farmers are facing huge pressures up and down the country and across Europe. Not only do we have short-term issues, such as a lack of rain, but we are also facing record high input prices. Without the support of our MEPs and policy-makers we could end up pushing some of our farmers out of business completely.”

He also warned against further trade liberalisation between the EU and Mercosur, the Latin American trade block, saying it would decimate the UK livestock industry.

He said: “If we are not careful, consumers could end up buying beef from deforested areas of Brazil rather than from grassland cattle in Cumbria.”