NSA expresses serious concerns at Agricultural Bill omission
1st March 2019
The National Sheep Association (NSA) is raising concerns about the absence of ‘sheepmeat’ within Schedule One of the Agriculture Bill, as it is concerned this could result in low standards of sheepmeat being imported into the country.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “NSA is extremely concerned that ‘sheepmeat’ is missing within this schedule when most other agri products are included. We are concerned that it could result in other countries able to import sheepmeat to the UK produced to lower environmental and welfare standards than UK sheep farmers are currently working to. This would be unacceptable, and we are appealing to Defra and Parliamentarians to fix this.”
NSA has contacted a number of MPs and Lords, and had written to George Eustice MP, recently departed Farming Minister, before his resignation, to request an explanation as to why sheepmeat has been missed from this schedule, and to demand this is rectified. NSA will further write to the new Minister once they are appointed, to ensure this issue is not missed.
This connects with NSA’s three crucial themes with regards to Agriculture Bill amendments. Mr Stocker continues: “NSA has assessed all proposed amendments to the Agriculture Bill, (as of 27th February) with three key focuses: ensuring standards for imported food reach equivalent standards to UK food production; ensuring funding commitments to agriculture and as far as possible to active farmers; and keeping food production at the heart of the Bill.” NSA is contacting MPs and encouraging them to support amendments that NSA believes meet these values.
Mr Stocker concludes: “The Agriculture Bill could provide a real opportunity to develop and strengthen UK sheep farming, but it is essential MPs understand and respect the needs of the industry, and by supporting these values they can help to do that.” NSA will continue to work on the Agriculture Bill as it continues through the House of Commons and into the Lords.