Former government adviser on agriculture, Lord Haskins, has sparked uproar in Wales after he told Radio 4’s Today programme that New Zealand lamb was more environmentally friendly than the Welsh product.
Lord Haskins was accused of “kicking Welsh lamb producers in the teeth” by Derek Morgan the chairman of the Farmers Union of Wales’ hill farming committee
Mr Morgan rejected Lord Haskins’ assertion that Welsh producers used a lot of fertiliser and instead claimed that New Zealand farmers not only used nitrogen but often used aircraft to apply it.
“I would say Welsh farmers use as little fertiliser as the New Zealanders do, when you take into account the amount of common land and open moorland in Wales that doesn’t have any fertiliser,” claimed Mr Morgan, who farms at Llangurig in Powys.
He added that he knew from personal experience that animal welfare standards were higher on Welsh farms.
And he reminded Lord Haskins that New Zealand lamb had to be kept refrigerated or chilled on its 12,000 mile journey to the UK, during storage and in transit to retail outlets.
“His comments are yet another kick in the teeth for Welsh farmers struggling to compete with meat imports. The worrying part is that the government listens to him and does not seem to support UK farming.”
Gareth Vaughan, FUW president, immediately invited Lord Haskins to attend the union’s annual House of Lord’s function on 18 January, which will promote sheepmeat produced naturally using “the green, green grass of Wales”.