Trade and Agriculture Commission
Following intense lobbying and a petition with over a million signatures, the Government has agreed to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission to ensure our high standards of food safety and animal welfare are not undercut by imports. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced that she is willing ‘in principle’ to set up a Commission but there are no indications as yet of its terms of reference and thus whether it can be effective.
Wild Justice and the Badger Cull
Wild Justice, the campaign group set up by Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Ruth Tingay, has now turned its attention to the badger cull. It has set up a crowd-funding appeal to raise money for a legal challenge by taking Natural England to Judicial Review over the issue of licences for the cull on the grounds that it has failed to define humane practices and that, as a result, unacceptably high numbers of badgers, killed by free shooting, die slowly and painfully each year.
Farm Deaths Down
Fatal accidents in agriculture, forestry and fishing fell to twenty in Great Britain in 2019/20, the lowest level on record, according to the latest HSE statistics. This follows a concerted campaign to reduce accidents on farms launched last year to halve the number of deaths in four years. Whilst the fall is welcome, the sector still accounts for 20% of all workplace deaths and any fatality is too many.
The combines are out and cutting winter barley on sandy soils in East Anglia and elsewhere. Early reports are of surprisingly good yields and quality considering the exceptionally wet winter and dry spring. Reports suggest that there are some good crops of cereals on local chalk soils, especially of barley, both winter and spring, destined for malting. The one crop of winter barley near my home was cut for whole-crop silage a couple of weeks ago.