EMiS today, 12 October, took part in the Save British Farming demonstration at the Westminster Parliament. This coincided with the Commons debate on the Agriculture Bill which would allow the U.K. to abandon high EU standards in food production, environment and animal health protections.
It would mean that the U.K., including Scotland, could be flooded with cheaply-produced low-quality food imports that the US will demand as the price for a U.K./US trade deal – for which Brexiteers would sell their own soul to gain access to the lucrative US services market. This deregulation will undercut our own high-quality agricultural produce, put the farming sector at risk of collapse and contaminate our food chain with chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-pumped beef and chemical-injected pork.
The NFU Scotland are against it, political parties, other than the Tories, are against it, a range of supermarkets are against it. We stood in solidarity with farmers and animal rights campaigners, as well as Edinburgh Leith and North MP, Deidre Brock, to say no to yet another catastrophic Brexit consequence.
Words and images by Vanessa Glynn, our former chair and current executive member
Update: MPs voted 332-279 to reject the Lords amendments enshrining high food safety and animal welfare standards in law. Deidre Brock said later: “
“By refusing to enshrine into legislation the high standards that currently protect us, Boris Johnson’s government has fired the starting gun for a post-Brexit race to the bottom, which threatens our superb food and agriculture sectors and risks flooding our stores with low-quality produce.
“Rather than heeding warnings from dozens of organisations in Scotland representing farmers, consumers, health experts, food producers and charities, the Tories ploughed ahead with their reckless plans that could see our high standards being watered down to facilitate trade deals – threatening to undermine businesses.
“Despite a majority of Scottish MPs backing moves to enshrine high food standards into legislation and protect our outstanding food and agriculture sectors, Scotland’s voice and vote was ignored.
“Yet again it’s been made clear that Westminster is simply not acting in our interests and that the only way to properly protect those interests is by becoming an independent country.
“Agriculture is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and any attempt to impose lower standards would be nothing short of an undemocratic power grab – with any notion of this union being a partnership of equals being shattered beyond repair.”
Read more here
…And watch Dispatches on Channel 4 for a report on the true state of US food production.