Responding to the National Farmers Union (NFU)’s latest report ‘Counting the value of the South West’s sheep’, Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato said:
“I welcome the NFU’s report on sheep farming after Brexit in the South West of England. The future facing the farmers I represent has been a source of concern to me since the Brexit vote. The report highlights that the reduction or removal of current EU CAP subsidies will amount to a “serious threat to the viability of the sheep sector. Since 95% of exported meat goes to the EU and the Single Market, the potential taxes of 50% on these exports after Brexit could spell disaster for British sheep farmers.
“However, it is disappointing that the NFU is failing to show leadership in seeking to stay within the Single Market or reverse Brexit through a referendum on the deal. The current high environmental and animal welfare standards that British farmers adhere to mean that they will be vulnerable if forced to compete with cheap low-quality imports from New Zealand.
“The NFU’s lack of focus on the potential pitfalls, such as the introduction of unfavourable quotas, involved with establishing post-Brexit trade agreements with non-EU partners, strikes me as strange. The UK offers some of the highest quality meat thanks to farmers choosing to build on existing EU standards and regulations for farming – we need the NFU to be clear that this is only possible due to the market protections currently enforced by the EU and that these are at threat from Brexit.”