FARM produce from Britain is respected around the world for one very simple reason – its unrivalled quality and the stringent safeguards that have been put in place to maintain quality control.
It’s why Ministers like Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, view themselves as global ambassadors for UK agriculture. He, for one, is rightly proud of this country’s record on this issue – and it explains why farmers want a ‘level playing field’ when the country begins to leave the EU next year.
And it is why the 34 respected organisations, who have signed an open letter calling for the Government to put in place special measures to stop the closure of local abattoirs, are hopeful of a favourable hearing from Mr Gove who, in just over a year, has already done more than his immediate predecessors to promote farming’s interests.
Not only does the closure of abattoirs mean animals having to be transported longer distances before they’re slaughtered, but it also comes at a time when public demand for locally sourced, and produced, meat has never been higher.
As the letter, co-ordinated by the Sustainable Food Trust, says: “The closure of yet more small abattoirs would have a severe impact on farm shops, farmers’ markets, traditional local butchers and many pubs and restaurants, which rely on small abattoirs to supply them. It would also remove an important source of skilled local employment, and prevent graziers in sensitive wildlife areas using specialised indigenous breeds from adding value to their animals by trading on the locality of their production.”
Over to you, Mr Gove.