To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the agricultural sector after the UK leaves the EU; and whether he plans to introduce a distinct and internationally recognised UK standard for agricultural goods based on a high level of animal health and welfare.
The Government’s plans for agriculture and for supporting the sector as the UK leaves the European Union are underpinned by the Agriculture Bill. The Bill is a central part of the Government’s programme of legislation to deliver as smooth a departure as possible and achieve a green Brexit. At the heart of our new policy in England will be a system that pays public money for public goods. Our future agriculture policy will help farmers continue to provide a supply of healthy, home-grown produce made to high environmental and animal welfare standards.
We are committed to putting in place a Gold Standard of metrics which will provide a framework of sustainability metrics, establishing a common vocabulary for environmental and animal welfare measurements in food and farming that can be used across public and private sectors.
We already have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, as well as a number of voluntary labelling schemes which provide assurances as to the welfare of the animals, both of which ensure consumers are not misled by the labelling of products that contain meat or dairy products. Once we leave the EU, we will review food labelling to ensure that we have a framework that meets the needs of UK consumers and producers. Labelling for welfare outcomes is one area that the review will cover.