A CUMBRIAN MP accused the Home Office of “not listening” to food security and the animal welfare crisis.
The Committee on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questioned the Minister for Safe and Legal Migration at the Home Office, Kevin Foster MP, in a special session devoted to labor shortages in the food and agriculture sectors.
Committee Chairman MP Neil Parish said: “Labor shortages in the food and agriculture sectors have created a crisis in human and animal welfare. But the Home Office just isn’t listening. It does not provide enough visas for foreign workers in a timely and efficient manner. Employers need workers and cannot get them on time.
“Pigs are slaughtered and wasted because there are not enough butchers in the slaughterhouses. Fruits rot on trees and crops are not planted. There seems to be a disconnect between this reality and what Mr. Foster is saying. Time and time again during our testimony session he has stated that visa systems are in place to address labor shortages. The food and agriculture industry tells us that is not the case.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border and member of the EFRA committee, said:
“We questioned the Ministry of the Interior on their actions in the face of the labor crisis facing the food and agricultural sectors. I mentioned the human and animal welfare crisis we are facing, with already over 16,000 pigs slaughtered on the farm because there is no meat processing workforce. in place to manage supply.
“As a veterinarian who oversaw the slaughter of many farm animals during foot-and-mouth disease, I know firsthand the dire consequences for everyone involved. The Home Secretary’s responses to our committee have been deeply disappointing and inadequate. I urge the government to pull itself together and act quickly to avoid this preventable crisis facing our agricultural sector. ”
Recently, Dr Hudson called on the government to close the loophole in public sector food purchasing rules. “It is so important that we maintain our high standards of animal welfare and food production both in international trade agreements but also in our domestic public sector food purchases. ”