September 21st, 2020 Newsletter

Say NO to Trump’s Toxic Food Deal

We’re campaigning to persuade the government to enshrine high food standards in law and prevent a US trade deal swamping the UK with lower animal welfare, food safety and environmental standard pork. We are backing UK farmers by launching a petition asking Greggs to stand up for UK farmers and reject low quality US pork imports. This will be followed by other high street fast food brands, such as Costa Coffee and Green King.

Greggs, Say NO to Trump’s Toxic Food Deal!

Sign the Petition

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We’re calling on Greggs’ Chief Executive Roger Whiteside to reject low quality US pork. The petition’s message is: “Sausage rolls are loved by the British Public. What we don’t love is pork from farms with worse cruelty flooding into the UK from US industrial farming. It will hurt British farms and our ability to improve British food standards.”

We would appreciate your support for this campaign so please sign and share this petition with your friends and networks as much as you can.

If we can get support from these iconic UK brands, MPs – especially in marginal constituencies – would be more likely to vote for amendments to the Trade Bill that would prohibit imports of cheap, substandard pork, chicken and beef into the UK.

The US has far lower standards than both the UK and EU. Pigs in the US are reared in cruel, inhumane environments with mother pigs unable to turn around in their pens for almost their entire lives. Most pigs in the US are dosed with the muscle-builder drug Ractopamine which is banned in 160 countries, and antibiotic use (to stave off disease and as a growth promoter), is three times higher than in the UK. How can our farmers compete with a factory pork industry which the US taxpayer subsidises by paying the clean-up costs?

? Quotes

Pig farmers such as Peter Greig, who runs family-owned Pipers Farm producing and retailing high quality grass fed meats, have joined the campaign alongside celebrities including animal welfare advocates Dominic West, Leslie Ash and Jerome Flynn.

Peter Greig, Farmer

“Food is not cheap if the external costs are simply being exported. We should be looking to protect and improve the higher standards that are met by farmers in this country. We know that our customers are increasingly aware of how animals are reared, and want to support UK farmers rather than simply allow imports of inferior products that will undermine our industry.”

Dominic West, Actor

“I love eating meat, particularly pork. However, I don’t want to eat any animal that has had a miserable life. I think most of the world agrees but it seems that our government is going to sign a free trade treaty with America that would undermine our urgent need to improve food safety, animal welfare and environmental standards. So, please could you satisfy your customers by promising not to stock any meat imports with lower standards than are demanded of our farmers in the UK. Many supermarkets as well as Nando’s and Dominos are already on this road for the chicken they stock, so how about making a popular stand to ensure no substandard meat comes into the UK?

Jerome Flynn, Actor

Factory farming is horrific. We call on all major fast food chains to follow public demand by pledging not to trade in meat that would be illegal to produce in the UK. If our market is flooded with cheap meat from America or Brazil what hope do we have to improve our standards here? So, please make a stand and refuse to buy low quality imported meat that undermines our UK farmers.

Leslie Ash, Actor

The overuse of antibiotics these days is having a profound effect on the ability of humans to fight off deadly infections. I’ve had MSSA (closely related to MRSA) but I was lucky and my body was able to fight the infection and my immune system worked very hard with the antibiotics and literally saved my life. Our immune system is what we rely on to stay alive and fight off deadly infections and viruses such as COVID-19. Antibiotics can cure bacterial diseases, unless those diseases become antibiotic-resistant from antibiotic over-use.

That’s why I was so distressed to learn that in intensive factory farming, distressed animals are pumped with large amount of antibiotics to ward off infections they contract from being kept in dirty, tiny pens where some of these animals are never able to turn around during their short lives. These pens become a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bacteria that pass to pigs and also to the workers and neighbours.

If you care about you and your family’s health, then you should care about what you are eating. Tell your local high street food chain not to supply cheap, sub-standard meat imported from the USA where pigs are given three times more antibiotics than pigs in the UK.

Tracy Worcester, Director of Farms Not Factories

“I’ve been campaigning for pigs to live freely in fields for years. Without a guarantee on high standards, we could see a race to the bottom in future years. Brexit means we can write our own rules, so it is time for the Prime Minister to ensure that our new agricultural rules mean we see higher food standards in British favourites, such as the sausage roll.”

Why is this Campaign Important?

? Trump Trade Deal. We know the public is on side; opinion polls show that every single demographic group is hostile to reducing food standards to secure a US trade deal. The public outrage about chlorinated chicken is just the tip of the trade iceberg. A Trump trade deal would destroy all our hard work to improve UK standards, not least because it will be impossible for our farmers to compete unless we lower ours. This US deal wants “comprehensive market access for US agricultural goods in the UK”. This will only put this dangerous system on steroids. Most Brexiters didn’t vote to leave the United States of Europe just to join the United States of America.

☣️ Pandemics. In an economy of scale, sustainable pig farming has been replaced by animal factories with giant sheds, overcrowded with stressed unhealthy pigs, which breed diseases such as the 2009 swine flu pandemic that broke out next to a giant animal factory in Mexico owned by US pork giant Smithfield Foods, killing an estimated 575,000 people worldwide. In the US, food processing has become concentrated in a few huge companies, so that when processing slowed down because of high rates of Covid among the workers, millions of chickens and pigs, that were outgrowing their torturously overcrowded pens, were ruthlessly slaughtered by suffocation. Similarly, in the UK, competition with cheap factory farmed EU imports has led to ever larger factory farms that are intrinsically unstable. Recently at least 400,000 chickens were euthanised as Covid infections disrupted slaughterhouse capacity.

? Globalisation. So-called free trade treaties are facilitating a few giant corporations to dominate an ever more centralised system of production, slaughtering, processing, distribution and retail.

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