Farmers must find ways to educate the consumer on the benefits of buying British produce if farming is to prosper in the UK, according to the RSPCA’s David Bowles.

During a speech to an RSPCA-organised fringe meeting, Mr Bowles said schemes such as the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods initiative, offered a solution to the challenges facing many in the industry,

“There is a clear demand for higher welfare products. As long as the consumer is made aware of their existence then they will buy them,” said Mr Bowles.

As proof he pointed to the year-on-year increases in sales of eggs and chickens displaying the Freedom Foods mark.

James Paice, shadow junior DEFRA minister, agreed in part to much of what Mr Bowles said but added that if farming is to thrive then the consumer needs to be made more aware of how food is produced.

Referring mainly to livestock production, Mr Paice said better food labelling was one way to redress the imbalance in the marketplace caused by differing welfare standards.

“Improved labelling and marketing of our foods is critical in ensuring the consumer is better informed,” said Mr Paice.