THE vast majority of local farmers are proud of the way that they treat their animals and the public in this country regularly demonstrates its desire for animal welfare standards to be high and to be increased.

Yet there is not much point in maintaining high standards in the UK if trade deals allow animals reared in unpleasant conditions to be imported into the country. All that does is export cruelty and drive local farmers out of business.

Routinely feeding antibiotics to animals is banned in the UK and in the EU because it covers up poor practices of overcrowding and intense rearing and also because it puts the health of everyone at risk. Over 80 per cent of antibiotics used in the US are given to animals at a time when health care professionals are regularly warning us that we need to be extremely cautious about using antibiotics in case we further increase resistance and make them useless.

We have all had some hard lessons recently about the consequences of ignoring the warnings that environmentalists gave about what can happen when you put animals in overcrowded conditions near humans. That is, after all, almost certainly the source of the entire Covid 19 pandemic.

Are we now content to force our local farmers to make a choice between bankruptcy or switching to the same mass production techniques that the worst Australian and US farmers use?

We were promised that new trade deals would make Britain great again. Driving sheep and cattle farmers out of business across the Yorkshire Dales and lowering animal welfare standards seems a strange way of achieving this.

Andy Brown

Green Party