Members vote overwhelmingly for rural campaigns

Members of the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) voted overwhelmingly for two resolutions, which will shape the organisation's campaigning priorities for the coming year at their Intermediate General Meeting in Brighton on 6 June 2002.

The resolution calling for stricter controls on the importation of foodstuffs received a majority of 99.7% and the second resolution calling for greater government support for local abattoirs received 97.7% of the votes. Both these resolutions strike at the heart of current concerns over the well being of rural economies in England and Wales, as well as touching on significant public health and animal welfare issues. Plans for the campaigning strategy will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Already a number of meetings have been scheduled to discuss the importation of foodstuffs with key organisations. NFWI has put the issue on the agenda for a high level meeting between consumer organisations and DEFRA officials on 12 June, and has set up a separate meeting with key officials at DEFRA on 18 June to discuss the government's action plan on illegal imports and options for further action. .

NFWI will be working closely with the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and Farmers' Union of Wales on this campaign.

The newly amended constitution of the organisation was also passed with a large majority.

For further information:
Melanie Taylor, Public Relations Officer 020 7371 9300 or 020 7610 9422

Notes to editors:

The two campaigning mandates read: * Importation of Foodstuffs
* In the interests of the health of both the people and animals of this country, this meeting urges NFWI to put pressure on the Government to implement stricter controls on the importation of foodstuffs into this country.

* Support of Local Abattoirs This meeting urges HM Government to support existing small abattoirs and to promote the reestablishment of local abattoirs, in order to minimise stress to animals, reduce the risk and spread of disease, and encourage the availability of locally produced meat. ENDS Melanie Taylor Public Relations Officer