Dr Dan Poulter, Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has pledged to do all he can to support Suffolk’s farmers against further regulation from Brussels following a meeting at local abattoir C & K Meats in Eye, where he was joined by Vicky Ford, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England.
Dr Poulter and Vicky Ford heard concerns regarding the way in which EU regulations are applied to farmers and food processors other EU Member States, and in particular whether other countries are enforcing regulations regarding food inspectors at meat processing facilities. This puts extra costs on UK producers, compared to overseas competition.
They also discussed animal welfare standards. The UK currently has one the strongest pig welfare regimes in Europe, for example the use of Sow stall pens has been banned here since the 1999. Our own British farmers have been campaigning in Brussels for a similar ban across Europe which is due to into force from 1 January 2013. This should bring continental produces more into line with UK standards. However it is clear that despite nearly a decade of notice many EU producers may not be ready to comply with the law. If the same standards are not applied uniformly across the EU, our local farmers find themselves at risk of being undercut by overseas produce.
Since being elected as the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Poulter has fought for the interests of local farmers in his constituency, and has held debates in Parliament to highlight the challenges facing our pig, poultry and dairy farmers. He has also campaigned for more ‘honest food labelling’ in Parliament, to ensure that meat products labelled 'British' only come from animals born, reared and slaughtered in Britain.