Public backs animal welfare, environmental standards

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Research suggests the public backs high animal welfare and environmental standards for the food industry
Research suggests the public backs high animal welfare and environmental standards for the food industry

Related tags Standards

The UK public overwhelmingly supports high animal welfare and environmental standards, research by the Food Ethics Council (FEC) suggests.

Almost three quarters of the survey respondents (73%) agreed they would like to do more to support UK farmers that have high animal welfare and environmental standards. Figures are based on a recent poll conducted by Yonder on behalf of the FEC, Eating Better and Hubbub.

A total of 49% of those surveyed in Scotland said they had selected food produced in the UK ahead of imported products in shops. A further 72% of those surveyed also said they had taken steps to support UK farmers in the past year.

Forefront of action

Dan Crossley, executive director of the FEC said: “Farmers in the UK are at the sharp end of extreme weather, supermarket price wars and the outcome of trade negotiations. They can also be at the forefront of action to address the climate, biodiversity and obesity crises.

“The public overwhelmingly want to support UK farmers that are looking after farm animals and the environment well. They need our collective support – and this survey shows that they have that in bucketloads.”

Support for high food standards expressed in the survey results mirror the calls by the food and drink industry to maintain the high quality expected of UK producers.

Industry Campaigns received massive support from the public, such as the National Farmers Union’s Food Standards Petition ​receiving the backing of more than 1m people.

Maintaining high standards

Apprehensions surrounding the future of food standards after the Brexit transition period have been voiced since the UK announced its departure from the EU, but recent moves by the Government – including the Agriculture Bill passing into law and an extension  to the Trade and Agriculture Commission – have helped to alleviate some fears.

However, some concerns remain about the industry’s role in the future of trade deals, with Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright calling on Government to engage the whole food supply chain in the UK’s future trade policy.

“Farmers represent one part of the food supply chain, but it is important that its other voices – manufacturing, retail and hospitality – are equally represented and heard,”​ said Wright.

Related topics Supply Chain Fresh produce

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