The National Farmers' Union has defended the animal welfare standards of the Little Red Tractor against claims from Compassion in World Farming that they are a scandal. David Clarke is chief executive of Assured Food Standards, which runs the NFU Red Tractor mark which 78,000 UK farmers and growers subscribe to. He said: "The Red Tractor is the framework for good farm management, covering animal welfare, food safety and hygiene and the environment. We cannot set unrealistic standards, but we are absolutely certain we can deliver on animal welfare." A spokesman for Compassion in World Farming said: "The Red Tractor is misleading the public. Its welfare standards are in line with legal minimums. It is not kind to animals and allows practices such as battery farming and debeaking." Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said: "This report usefully draws attention to an important aspect of farm assurance schemes, but it has the details wrong. Standards are alive and under constant review. No broiler hens kept for eating purposes are battery farmed. We keep them in large pens with straw. Beaks are trimmed on vets' advice in breeding birds which show aggressive tendencies." {{NEWS }}