Category: Food & Farming

Lambs to the slaughter

Miles King

As we wait for what feels like the final slow-motion spin of the car as it hurtles inexorably towards the cliff edge, wondering if our heroes are going to escape from this seemingly impossible situation … again … no, stop there. Enough with the Hollywood imagery, the tired old metaphors. They just aren’t funny anymore. […]

Nature and environment boxed set

Anthea Simmons

We are lucky enough to have some excellent writers covering environmental issues. We thought you might appreciate having this selection to dip into, in case you missed any of the articles first time round. Maybe you would like to add a piece of your own? Do you work in conservation? Are you a wildlife fan? […]

EuroDog consider animal sentience

EuroDog

Farm animals voice their concern about whether the House of Commons will take the opportunity when reviewing the Lords’ amendments to the Agriculture Bill on Monday 12 October to honour the commitment  – as stated the Queen’s Speech of October 2019 – to recognise animals as sentient beings.  

Hidden trade-offs make trade deals unpalatable

Sadie Parker

To say that farms are likely to be decimated by Brexit is inaccurate, because ‘to decimate’ means to cull one in ten. DEFRA was reported to be expecting at least one in four farms to go bust as a result of Brexit. Even DEFRA’s dire forecast may have been too generous. Last year, former National […]

Furore over food standards reaching fever pitch

Sadie Parker

On 22 September, the Lords inflicted a defeat on the government when it voted, in line with the government’s own manifesto pledge, for an amendment to the Agriculture Bill to uphold our food, animal welfare and environmental standards. What was the government doing voting against its own manifesto pledge in the first place? Government has […]

The soil depletion crisis – retired Devon organic dairy farmer spells out the hard truth.

Rory O'Connor

My current edition of ‘Grass and Forage Manager’, published by British Grassland Society, shows just how far many farmers have come in recognising their responsibilities to environmental matters over the last ten to fifteen years. Articles on livestock sustainability, growing herbal leys, locking in carbon with grassland and grassland management effects on earthworm communities are […]

Mel Stride puts his foot in it

Alex Pilkington

Mel Stride, Conservative MP for Central Devon, was photographed wearing a wheatsheaf brooch in support of the Back British Farming Day, whilst failing to vote for Neil Parish’s (Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton) amendment to the Agriculture Bill. This amendment was designed to maintain our food and animal welfare standards in any future trade […]

Animal welfare – another of this government’s sacrificial lambs?

Danny Chambers

To the huge concern of vets and farmers, the UK government seems to be preparing to sacrifice our high animal welfare standards in order to obtain a trade deal with Donald Trump. Worryingly, this also threatens our ability to combat deadly disease in humans, writes Cornwall-based vet Danny Chambers. With the end of the transition […]

What next for Somerset’s apple growers?

Oliver Patrick

Cornwall is renowned for the mighty Cornish pasty (awarded protected geographical indication status (PGI) in 2011). Devon is known, internationally, for cream tea. Dorset is famous for Blue Vinney cheese (awarded PGI status in 1998), whilst Somerset is probably best known for its apples and award-winning ciders. However, Somerset’s apple orchards face a bleak future: […]

Useless Eustice? No, he’s much worse than that

Tom Scott

This article references some vile, racist language which we have reproduced, rather than hide just how morally-repulsive some individuals are. Editor George Eustice has risen from obscurity to become the smooth-talking frontman for some of the worst aspects of Brexit. In February, Environment Minister George Eustice was loudly booed by an audience of farmers at […]

Farmers need access to good research and reliable advice

Natalie Bennett

Farming requires a huge number of skills and a vast amount of knowledge, all of which needs to be continually updated and revised as the environment – physical, legislative and market – changes. If you think about what the job description of ‘farmer’ involves, it runs the gamut from pharmacology to mechanical engineering, animal behaviour […]

Lords call for government food strategy to protect food security

Natalie Bennett

On the night of 21 July, some 16 hours into the debate of the 321 amendments to the agriculture bill, with Lords huddled over their laptops in remote parts of the country, you’d have to be a keen political wonk to have still been attached to Parliament TV. But Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick described this part of […]

Build back better

Belinda Bawden

Do you remember last summer? It was hot all around the world. So hot that alarms were sounding everywhere about the need to act now on climate change. Prince Charles joined scientists in warning of the urgency, suggesting that we had an 18-month window to change our current trajectory. Of course, it’s not just about […]