I support British farming and want it to be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and to lead the world with high standards in animal welfare and food quality.
I would like to see a growth in the trade and export of meat rather than live animals and I believe animals should be slaughtered as close as possible to where they are reared. The current Government has committed to examine the future of live animal exports and I will await any proposals that it brings forward on this issue.
At the recent election, the Labour manifesto pledged to promote cruelty-free animal husbandry and to consult on ways to ensure agreed standards are better enforced. Unfortunately, Labour did not win the election. I will continue to press for the highest possible animal welfare standards across British farming.
I share your concerns about overuse of antibiotics on farms and agree far too much of this is preventative. Antibiotics should not be used in place of high quality farm management and husbandry systems. The Government says that it is working on plans to reduce the use of antibiotics. I believe it should establish firm targets for reducing antibiotics in farming and specific targets on the use of antibiotics “critically important” in human medicine. I also support a ban on certain classes of antibiotics in certain species, such as fluoroquinolones in poultry, and believe farmers must be supported on the responsible use of antibiotics.
I recognise that as a country we need to change our relationship with food and as such I believe that new proposals on food labelling are needed.
We must prioritise a sustainable, long-term future for our farming, fishing and food industries. We cannot allow Brexit to be used as an excuse for food standards to be reduced or to allow cheap and inferior produce to flood the UK market. I believe we should reconfigure funds for farming to promote sustainable practices so that the industry can thrive and succeed while benefitting local communities.
I can assure you I will continue to call for action to promote a humane and sustainable British farming system. I will also press for our existing environmental and animal welfare standards to be retained and strengthened once we have left the EU.