23 September 1997
Lib-Dems call for EU agricultural reform

THE Liberal Democrats called for reforms to the European Unions (EU) agricultural policy, at their annual conference, in Eastbourne, Sussex.

The party wants subsidies switched away from production and towards environmental protection and organic farming. Current levels of expenditure were unsustainable, said agriculture spokesman Charles Kennedy.

He called for a flexible new form of rural support to reflect different farming patters in Europe. This should be administered on a national basis, he said. This would ensure larger farms in Britain were not penalised by a flat rate imposed by Brussels.

Delegates approved an amendment which said people had “duties” towards animals. A call for farm livestock to be guaranteed “freedoms” was defeated by eight votes in a philosophical debate on animal welfare.

The conference called for new EU rules on animal transport across Europe.

  • Financial Times 23/09/97 page 13
  • The Times 23/09/97 page 9
  • The Daily Telegraph 23/09/97 page 13