Skip to main content

Eating Better responds to DEFRA consultation on post-Brexit agriculture

News | Published  9 May 2018

Eating Better's submission to the DEFRA Health and Harmony future farm policy consultation.


Eating Better has made it’s submission to the DEFRA Health and Harmony future farm policy consultation. The response draws on the expertise of our alliance of 53 organisations, including farming, environmental and health experts working towards a fair, green and healthy future for the UK food system.

Eating Better’s response to the ‘Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit’ consultation explains that while we have welcomed DEFRA comments about a healthier and more sustainable food system, we are disappointed that the consultation is narrowly focused on farming rather than a broader farming and food strategy.

The consultation’s narrow focus offers little opportunity for consideration of the wider context in which a new farming policy will need to operate, and its relationship to broader food policy and social goals.

Eating Better is calling on DEFRA to deliver an integrated food and farming strategy which drives progress towards climate change goals, supports public health, the restoration of biodiversity, while also providing support to farming practices that work towards these goals.

Our response sets out 10 recommendations for livestock farming’s role in a sustainable food and farming system that would support this goal:

  • An integrated food and farming strategy to replace CAP which drives progress towards climate change goals for agriculture and supports public health and restoring biodiversity.
  • A transition to healthy sustainable eating patterns with less and better meat and dairy with more plant-based eating.
  • High standards and enforcement for environmental protection, food safety, antibiotic use in livestock farming and farm animal welfare.
  • Public money for the provision of public goods; such as wildlife, farm animal welfare, environmental and landscape benefits, including building healthy soils, enhanced biodiversity, flood alleviation and climate change mitigation.
  • Sustainable levels of livestock production in line with the carrying capacity of land, climate change goals and environmental limits, the principles of sustainable diets and public expectations for high quality, high welfare, sustainably produced UK livestock products.
  • Protection for high quality permanent grassland and carbon-rich soils that avoids overgrazing.
  • Sustainably sourced animal feed to reduce the UK’s impact on climate change and biodiversity in other countries. Alternative feeds with lower impact should be developed, including consideration of heat-treated, safe, food waste for pigs and chickens.
  • Clear and honest labelling; including a mandatory method of production labelling for all livestock products.
  • Economic support for sustainable livestock production systems including more extensive pasture-based, agro-ecological, organic, and mixed farming systems.
  • Sufficient transition funding for innovation, research and training to support the practical and cultural shift needed.

Our recent report: Principles for Eating Meat and Dairy More Sustainably: the 'less and better' approach provides practical guidance and a set of eight principles for better livestock production and consumption.

Eating Better has a meeting planned with DEFRA officials soon where we look forward to discussing with them how to develop an approach that integrates food, farming, the environment and health to support people, animals and the land in future years.