Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Member Jane Dodds has criticised a Conservative Minister for “insulting” local farmers after he lauded the benefits of New Zealand lamb over those from different parts of the UK.
Conservative Minister of State for International Trade, Lord Johnson, praised Kiwi lamb saying it was better for the environment to eat chops from the other side of the world than to eat those from elsewhere in the UK.
Imported lamb in New Zealand can be produced to lower standards than our own food, using methods that are simply unacceptable here.
Jane Dodds called these remarks “an insult to Welsh lamb farmers across Mid & West Wales”.
The Liberal Democrats say that, in power, they would ensure that farming standards are guaranteed in trade deals and that Conservative indifference to farming communities is fuelling farmers to abandon the party in favour of the Liberal Democrats.
An annual poll by Farmer’s Weekly Magazine recently found that support for the Conservatives had dropped by 30% in the last two years across the UK to 42%, while support for the Liberal Democrats had grown by 14% to 23%.
Responding to the remarks, Jane Dodds said:
“We already had to put up with the Conservatives selling our farmers down the river with the deeply unequal New Zealand and Australian trade deals, now another Minister is just rubbing salt into the wound.
“The Minister supposed to represent British people is commending New Zealand lamb over our own.
“Comments like these are yet another example of the Conservatives failing to understand or support our farmers. They serve only to undermine our farmers by failing to note the lower welfare standards for animals abroad.
“It is no surprise given the absolute indifference to our farming communities by the Conservatives that more and more farmers are abandoning them in favour of the Liberal Democrats.”