Scarecrows make a stand for food standards in Dewsbury as part of conservation charity WWF-UK campaign

The Agriculture Bill will be making its way back to the House of Commons for MPs to consider amendments made in the House of Lords.
The scarecrows are part of a campaign urging MPs to back British farmers.The scarecrows are part of a campaign urging MPs to back British farmers.
The scarecrows are part of a campaign urging MPs to back British farmers.

The Bill received its third reading in the Lords on Thursday concluding its passage through the House which has seen the agreement of amendments including increased powers for the Trade and Agricultural Commission.

With the Bill heading back to the House of Commons, there have also been increasing calls for the Government and individual MPs to ‘back British farming’ and protect food standards.

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Conservation charity WWF-UK created a campaign which has seen scarecrows popping up in towns across the county, most recently in Dewsbury.

Artist Gillian Tyler created the three scarecrows to ‘Stand Up For British Standards’ and urge MPs to stand with them and ensure high food quality, environment and animal welfare standards are enshrined in upcoming trade deals and legislation.

Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, said: “Britain has some of the highest standards in the world and our farmers are ready to go further to help the country prosper after Brexit.

“There’s a risk that trade deals being struck by the Government right now could under cut our farmers, put low-quality food on our shelves, and pollute our local environment.

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“To stop that from happening we urgently need protection in law for our high standards of food quality, environmental protection and animal welfare.”

Gillian said it was important that the food we eat has been produced safely, with high animal welfare standards and done in a way which safeguarded our environment.

“As a mother, a keen cook and someone who is interested in protecting the biodiversity of our environment I am always concerned about the origin and the quality of food that I bring to the table,” she said.

Katie said there had been a great deal of interest in the scarecrows and they may be doing a mini, covid-compliant tour to spread the message about not only protecting food standards but championing our farmers.

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“Lockdown has given us an increased appreciation of our local producers and where our food comes from.

“Our farmers are on the front line as we come out of the EU and we have a real opportunity to build on the high standards we already have and become the best.”

The campaign group, Save British Farming, is also planning its next move following the protest by farmers on Northallerton High Street.

Jon Johnson, who was part of the organising team, said if MPs did not take action to safeguard food standards, the Government would be “throwing farmers to the wolves”.

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The protest, which saw farmers lining the streets with placards, was held in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s constituency.

Mr Johnson said they wanted to raise awareness of the implications for farmers and consumers if Government did not make good on its manifesto promise to protect food standards.

He said they would now be approaching MPs directly asking them to back the amendments in the House of Commons.

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