New farming grants welcomed but animal health & welfare pathway details urgently needed
- Defra announced today (21st February) that more than £168 million in grants would be made available to farmers this year.
- Money will be available to boost food production, pay for equipment and automation, and fund smaller abattoirs.
- The money will come from the farming innovation programme and the farming investment fund and will sit alongside the environmental land management schemes (ELMs), These include standards for areas such as soil, grassland and hedgerow management.
- Funding can be used by farmers to invest in new technology and bring in nature friendly farming schemes to promote a more sustainable food system.
- Funding smaller abattoirs will allow for increased investment in new technology, improving productivity and animal welfare whilst supporting the development of local food systems.
- Despite mention of improving animal welfare, disappointingly, today’s announcement seems unlikely to deliver fundamental and significant changes needed to British farming.
- We urge the government to ensure that the expansion of grants is used to improve animal welfare by helping farmers transition away from cruel intensive methods, such as crates and cages and towards regenerative agriculture.
- We are still waiting for the crucial Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which will provide a longer-term vision and shift to more sustainable and higher-welfare farming practices.
Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK, said:
“While Compassion in World Farming welcomes support for the farming sector, farmers need clarity in both the short and the long term on how Government support will evolve so that they can plan their future.
“We are still waiting for the crucial Animal Health and Welfare Pathway details, as a longer-term vision to help farmers shift to a more sustainable higher-welfare model is almost entirely missing. We urge Defra to bring forward the full strategy as soon as possible, including a real commitment to ending cruel cage and crate systems with support for the industry to adapt effectively.”
For further information or to book an interview, contact Compassion in World Farming’s Media Team: 01483 521 615 firstname.lastname@example.org