George Eustice MP had the chance to question Farming Minister, Jim Paice MP about animal welfare issues in relation to world trade agreements when the minister appeared before the DEFRA select committee on Tuesday.
Talking about the ongoing CAP reform, Mr Paice stated that "the Government's policy is aimed at ensuring farmers' income comes from the market" ... "our job must be to create the economic environment in which a successful business can make a profit". Following on from the expert evidence that the committee received from Professor Alan Swinbank, George Eustice MP raised the matter of animal welfare standards, and their effect on the world trade markets. He asked about the Minister's stance on British farmers being undercut by producers from countries where, due to lower welfare standards, food production costs are much lower. Restating his aspiration to see a conclusion to the current Doha round of WTO negotiations, Mr Paice also asserted his desire to "see future [WTO] rounds addressing the issue of animal welfare".
George Eustice said, "there is a real danger that having a pan-European CAP stifles policy innovation and prevents national solutions to national problems. Long-term, we need to radically reform the CAP so that it is a set of common principles which are implemented through national legislation. We need to focus on providing a fair and profitable market for our farmers, ensuring that our imports comply to the same sort of high production and welfare standards that we expect of our exports."