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Poultry report is positive, says NFU

by 5m Editor
25 July 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Today’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report is right to point out that competition for the UK poultry sector needs to be fair if the industry is to survive.

The House of Commons committee report concludes that high UK animal welfare standards result in extra costs to producers that foreign competitors do not have to bear.

Coupled with increasing trade liberalisation that encourages cheaper imports, this cost burden is putting the domestic industry under financial pressure.

NFU poultry chairman Charles Bourns said the NFU fully agreed with the main thrust of the report that all products offered for sale on the European market must be produced to equivalent standards.

He said: “The NFU has been making this very point for some time. British farmers are incredulous when their efforts to produce to high welfare standards are undermined by imported poultry and eggs produced to lower standards.

“It is patently unfair to offer shoppers chicken and eggs produced to standards lower than that of our own country while increasing the regulatory burden on domestic producers.”

The NFU also welcomes the report’s suggestion that the public sector should be prepared to buy British products rather than cheaper ones from countries not subject to the same standards.

Britain consumes about 1.7 million tonnes of poultry meat each year, with 350,000 of this imported - a three-fold rise in the last ten years. This imported produce is worth nearly £277 million a year - money that could be going into Britain's own poultry industry.

Source: National Farmers Union - 23rd July 2003

5m Editor