The heavens were on our side as the rain briefly stopped on Halloween night to allow farmers and community food activists to light 1000 pumpkins in the shape of SOS – Save Our Standards – outside the Houses of Parliament to implore MPs to vote for Amendment 16B in the Agriculture Bill. This will enshrine into law a ban on imports that fall below UK food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards.
The organisers – Landworkers Alliance – are a member of La Via Campesina, an organisation that represents 200 million peasants worldwide. They suggest 3 ways to contact your local MP. If you are a farmer, landworker or land manager, please add your name to this letter. If you are a chef, home and Community Cook or baker, sign this letter. If none of the above, then please tweet or email your MP by finding them here and sending a variant of this template letter.
This document exposes the myths the Tories are spinning about why we don’t need Amendment 16B. They are trying to pacify the popular demand by conceding to make the “Trade and Agriculture Commission into a statutory body which will give independent advice on trade deals as they go through parliament.” However, it is still only ‘advice’ and the commission lacks the breadth of representation needed to save our standards. Of the 16-member board, nine are representatives from the food industry and retail, with no representation for British Vets, no animal welfare charities or NGO voices such as the RSPCA. Small scale local farmers and their marketing networks have no-one to represent them.
George Eustice MP
“It will place a duty on the Government to report to Parliament on whether, or to what extent, commitments in new Free Trade Agreements relating to agricultural goods are consistent with maintaining UK levels of statutory protection in relation to human, animal and plant life and health; animal welfare; and environmental protection. This report will be laid at the same time, or ahead of, any FTA laid before Parliament, demonstrating how we are meeting our commitments on standards.”
This is useful but in reality it is only an impact assessment to go before MPs and they will have no new powers or duties to scrutinise or block.
Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.
Tracy Worcester, Director