VIDEO • In a speech to the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee (01.12.2010), East of England UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew has strongly criticised the EU for its ‘naive’ negotiations with South American countries on agricultural trade.
Mr Agnew, commenting on discussions about egg production in South America said: “My concern is with enforcement. It is all very well for Argentina and Brazil to say ‘yes we will make sure our produce is generated according to your welfare and food safety standards – please come and see one of our units’. A delegation of MEPs will be wined and dined in a hotel on the South Atlantic coast and then shown a unit nearby that is perfect. We are led by the nose and shown what they want us to see.
“Meanwhile, the real work goes on 300-400 miles inland where birds are kept eight to a cage instead of four with nobody checking the ammonia emissions from a broiler unit and threatening to close it down because moss isn’t growing on a tree nearby. The problem is that these countries are so big. “We (the EU) are being incredibly naïve if we think we can secure agreement on welfare standards. We will not be able to do it.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Agnew said: “Entering into an agreement whose terms cannot be properly verified is madness and there is a very real danger that cheap, poor quality produce with lower welfare standards will be introduced into UK markets at the expense of our own domestic producers and to the detriment of consumers.”