Government must explain advantage of US trade deal

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Workers at chicken factory
Getty Images
Coming to a supermarket near you? US workers prepare chicken

Last week, the head of the American Farm Bureau lobby group, Zippy Duvall, said that the UK must accept US food standards as part of any future trade deal.

That includes the infamous chlorine-washed chicken.

But Minette Batters, president of the UK's National Farmers' Union, says there are a number of questions that must be answered first.

"We've had politicians talking about higher welfare standards, absolutely maintaining what we have, which is what we have said from day one - we want to maintain our food values effectively which are about animal welfare and environmental protection."

She explains: "The US is talking about food safety standards, they are not talking about animal welfare or environmental protection because they don't currently have that legislation in place.

"So, there are some really important questions to be answered by government as to what they see is an advantage in a US trade deal what we don't have already and what they are prepared to do to make sure those values are enshrined in law effectively, that parliament ratifies any trade deal."

'Persistent' rural criminals plaguing county

Rural crime cost Cumbria more than £700,000 last year, according to the insurer NFU Mutual.

It's almost a 60% rise on the previous year, and the increase is said to be mainly because of high-value thefts of tractors and quad bikes.

The NFU's Rural Crime Survey warns that police cuts are a major concern for those living in the countryside.

Nathan Allen farms near Windermere. He says thieves are visiting farms in his area - and they're "persistent."


Cost of rural crime in the North East increases

BBC Newcastle

The cost of rural crime in the North East has risen by a quarter in the past year, to £8.5, the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said.

The NFU Mutual's annual report says thefts of quad bikes, tractors and other farm vehicles make up a big part of the losses.

Farmers have been telling BBC Newcastle that night poaching is also a growing problem and it often sees livestock worried or killed and farmland damaged.