NFU challenges Hilary Benn over TB issue

NFU president Peter Kendall has challenged DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn to show he is a minister prepared to take a decision on the issue of TB in the badger population.

Mr Kendall used the opening speech at the NFU Centenary Conference on Monday (18 Feb) to set out five challenges for the industry and government.

One of these was to address the problem of bovine TB which, he said, was rampant and out of control in many parts of the country.

“Secretary of State, I am only too aware that we live in an increasingly urban society, and that decisions of this nature are difficult, but you must come to the right decision, and quickly.

“We all know the phenomenon of the NIMBY (Not in my back yard). I feel that through successive ministers and successive governments, this issue has fallen victim to NIMTOO – Not in my term in office.

“Please secretary of state, show that you are different.”

In a wide-ranging speech which drew applause at several points, Mr Kendall talked about the need for the UK to develop the agricultural potential of the country to its fullest.

Farmers and the government have a shared moral responsibility to make the most of the potential of British farming in a world threatened by food shortages and climate change.

He called for a new vision for agriculture – one that looked forward and not backwards – and recognised the importance of production. 

The current Sustainable Food and Farming Strategy had its roots in the 2001 Curry report yet the world had changed fundamentally.

For Peter Kendall’s full speech see Food For Thought.