17 September 1999
Farmers‘ supporters pick up the pen

FOUR people have had letters published in The Independent disagreeing with a recent claim in the paper that the crisis in agriculture is the fault of farmers.

But another letter published at the top of the page says describes the controversial article in question as “the most accurate report yet on the current farming crisis.”

An opinion piece by James Erlichman on 15 September was headlined “Let the farmers bleat. It is their own fault they are suffering.”

But Martin Lea, of North Rode, Cheshire, dismisses the article as the latest in a long list of articles to “put the boot into an industry that is… near to death.”

His view is supported by three other letters who agree that farmers are suffering because of regulations which make their produce uncompetitive with imported food.

But Peter Allen, from Worthing, West Sussex, says farmers deserve no sympathy.

“Farmers often contemptuously describe animal welfare campaigners as bunny huggers who know nothing of the harsh realities of animal farming,” he writes.

Now that they want to attract public sympathy and support, farmers are only too keen to be photographed cuddling calves, he adds.

“Not much dewy-eyed love evident when they were loading them into the transporters destined for European veal crates or the slaughterhouse.”

  • The Independent 17/09/99 page 2 (Friday Review)