Factory farming

British farming needs to be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and to lead the world with high standards in animal welfare and food quality.

The government has committed to examine the future of live animal exports. I believe animals should be slaughtered as close as possible to where they are reared.

At the recent election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to promote cruelty-free animal husbandry and to consult on ways to ensure agreed standards are better enforced.

I share concerns about the overuse of antibiotics on farms. Antibiotics should not be used in place of high quality farm management and husbandry systems. The government says that it is working on plans to reduce the use of antibiotics. This must involve establishing firm targets for reducing the use of antibiotics in farming and specific targets on the use of antibiotics  that are critically important in human medicine.

New proposals on food labelling are also needed to help the country change its relation to the food it produces and consumes. Consumers need better and clearer information to make real choices.

We cannot allow Brexit to be used as an excuse for food standards to be reduced or to allow cheap and inferior produce to flood the UK market. We should reconfigure funds for farming to promote sustainable practices so that the industry can thrive and succeed while benefitting local communities.

I will continue to call for action to promote a humane and sustainable British farming system. I will also press for our existing environmental and animal welfare standards to be retained and strengthened once we have left the EU.