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Countryside Alliance welcomes British produce package

Marking the 8th annual Back British Farming Day, the Government has announced a set of new measures to promote British farming. The package aims to help people buy British online and provide additional funding to support sustainable farming. 

Ministers at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs signalled the Government’s support for a campaign encouraging food retailers to signpost customers to “buy British”, and would endorse the taste and quality of British meat and dairy products. In addition, British products produced sustainably under environmental land management schemes will be eligible to help public bodies meet their procurement standards. 

Meanwhile, the Government has sought to improve its Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, which supports a range of actions farmers can take to protect and improve the environment such as on soils, moorland and integrated pest management. This year’s scheme will support 23 actions and farmers with a live agreement in place by the end of the year will receive an accelerated payment in the first month to support their cashflow. 

The Farming Minister, Mark Spencer, stressed additional actions to support the development of a network of small, local abattoirs, including removing barriers to their operation and creating a £4 million Small Abattoir Fund to open by the end of the year. He also highlighted additional investment in innovation, with an extra £30 million announced for farmers to invest in automated, robotic and solar technologies.

These measures are intended to support the Government’s commitment that the UK should continue producing 60% of the food we eat. 

Sarah Lee, Director of Policy, said: 

“The Countryside Alliance applauds Mark Spencer's recent announcement. The Countryside Alliance has tirelessly advocated for small abattoirs and recognises the vital role they play in the food supply chain. This significance becomes even more apparent if there is a prospective ban on live animal exports. It is imperative that we prevent situations where livestock endure excessively long journeys within the UK due to the inability to utilise small abattoirs. 

“The demand for local produce is strong, yet the absence of a network of small abattoirs would still mean that extended travel time for UK livestock is inevitable. When the point of ending live exports is to reduce the distress inflicted upon animals, it is counterproductive to disregard the practical challenges we face within our own borders. We might find ourselves in an absurd scenario where animals cannot be transported from Dover to Calais, but they can be moved from Liverpool to Belfast. Such a situation lacks logic. The government's urgent need to invest in small abattoirs cannot be overstated and this money will go some way to improving welfare.” 

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