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We have taken an ambitious approach through actions and schemes such as greening, agri-environment and climate initiatives and the Farm Advisory Service. In addition, we have supported and continue to support initiatives including our flagship Farming for a Better Climate initiative and industry-led programmes, such as the Quality Meat Scotland and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board monitor farm network, in order to support and promote environmental sustainability.
Does the minister agree that the current broad-brush condemnation of red-meat production does not recognise the vast difference between Scotland’s predominantly grass-fed red-meat production system and the intensive feed systems that are used in much of the Americas and Asia, and that we should be supporting our farmers in their continued drive for more sustainable and environmentally friendly food production?
Absolutely. I could not agree more. I believe that Brian Whittle is referring to a programme that aired last week in which there was little, if any, mention—just some throwaway references—of how we farm in the UK. It did no justice whatever to our food production methods, and it did not draw clear enough parallels to highlight how the systems are so intrinsically different.
How we farm in Scotland is completely different to systems in other parts of the world, and we have among the highest animal health and welfare standards. We need to shout about that and spread the message that what we do here, and what we produce, is the best anywhere in the world.
I share that concern, especially in the light of my previous answer, in which I talked about our having some of the best animal health and welfare standards in the world. We are absolutely committed to maintaining those standards, which is why the Scottish Government is adamant that future trade deals cannot undercut the high agricultural and environmental standards that we proudly uphold in Scotland.
Sustainability and inclusion have to lie at the core of our future trade policy, so we must take a robust approach to monitoring those considerations at all stages of the negotiation and implementation processes.