cows cattle

Sir, The debate surrounding feedlots and recently published pictures of flooded corrals has raised an interesting discussion that the industry and the public will have over the coming years (9 June, p12). It should be noted that the photos were taken at a time when there was severe rainfall, which would have proved difficult even for animals left to roam free.

I believe the bigger question is: how does British production remain competitive when it is likely to have the most stringent welfare and environmental controls in the world? At the same time evidence suggests that the consumer is prepared to pay only about 10% more for these higher standards.

My concern is that the government, as it endeavours to negotiate trade deals and ensure the UK complies with WTO rules, will not be able to stipulate that imported meat complies with the same standards that UK farmers must meet. If it is not able to do that, then the UK will end up with higher costs of production and competing with much cheaper imported product produced to lower standards. The result could well be that production in the UK falls and we import more.

Nick Allen, CEO, British Meat Processors Association