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DEFRA believes that Britain is in a 'post agricultural' era

Defra vision of a farm-less Britain?

Telegraph 08/01/2008

"Listeners may have been startled to hear on the January 3 Today programme that at meetings convened by Defra there had been discussion about whether UK farming was needed at all..... Defra which coincidentally has dropped the word 'farming' from its title, immediately denied such discussions had occurred. .....

Defra and the Treasury's joint vision document of 2006 presented to the EU argued that supports for farming should be completely abandoned; it stood isolated amongst European submissions.

A variety of new directives look designed to maim farmers. One is producing crops without enough nitrates. The Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) directive will considerably curtail crop outputs. More tractor oil will be burnt, more soil compacted, more fertiliser substitutes used, for less saleable food.

It is claimed that the controls brought in after BSE, for example in having fully qualified vets permanently present in abattoirs, has cost beef farmers 40 per cent of their livestock values. Sheep farmers and to a lesser extent beef farmers are frequently producing meat for the nation at a loss.

Farmers have never been favourites in the Treasury because not only do they claim supports, but also allowances for investments in farming businesses...
... despite pronouncements about carbon emissions, the UK is busily enlarging its capacity to cart in our food through a giant construction programme of more ports and airports. Unlike transport within Britain, which is taxed to dizzy levels, the competing food imports arrive on untaxed bunker and aviation fuel.

Privately even the department's civil servants find it extraordinary that if a mistake is made in their own offices, or in the regulatory British Cattle Movement Service, or by the veterinary inspectorate, it is regarded as human error and corrected, whereas if the farmer gets one figure wrong, on a passport containing fourteen digits, the entire subsidy maybe representing 70 per cent of income can be withdrawn or delayed. A paperwork mistake can mean business annihilation.

Such a punitive system could be regarded as a policy for the sector's obliteration...."

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