Thank you for writing to me about the Agriculture Bill. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
The Agriculture Bill passed its Third Reading in the Commons on 13th May. The transcript of the full debate is easily accessible online at Hansard, showing all the key arguments and votes. This can be accessed via:
I appreciate that you have some concerns but I would like to assure you that, going forward, the U.K. will maintain high animal welfare and environmental standards in our own agriculture, and we will only allow food imports via trade deals where appropriate standards are met by the exporting farmers, similar to what happens now.
The Government has made clear commitment that any future trade agreements must uphold good levels of food safety, animal welfare standards, and environmental protection, including any agreement with the United States. British consumers rightly want and expect high welfare produce, and if our trading partners want to break into the UK market, they should expect to meet those standards.
With regard to labelling, the Government has committed to a serious and rapid examination of what could be done through labelling in the UK market to promote high standards and high welfare goods. Any scheme could not be devised until we have competed the transition period with the EU and would need to recognise World Trade Organisation (WTO) obligations.
We are a nation of animal lovers and I am committed to maintaining high standards of animal welfare. Outside the EU, the UK will remain party to bodies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and others, and will continue to promote improved animal welfare standards internationally. An example of this is the consultation that will be carried out on restricting live animal journeys, and bringing forward welfare conditions for these journeys where they are necessary.
For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/agriculture-bill-to-boost-environment-and-food-production
The Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to do its best to ensure that any deals live up to the values of our farmers and consumers, and I am very committed to maintaining high animal welfare and environmental standards.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking