Farming groups across the UK and Ireland have called for current standards for the livestock industry to be maintained post-Brexit to help the UK secure the best trading deal with the EU.
Livestock representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and UK farming unions recently met in Belfast to discuss Brexit and the trade implications for the livestock sector.
They agreed the UK should maintain equivalent standards for agricultural practices and processing to help secure the future of the livestock sector.
“The existing standards that are in place will give us a solid foundation to work from and help ease the negotiating process,” said IFA national sheep committee chairman John Lynskey.
The organisations stressed the need for free trade to be maintained between the UK and the EU post-Brexit, including a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).
Trade in livestock products is vital to both the UK and the ROI with over 50% of Irish beef exports currently destined for the UK and nearly 40% of the UK’s beef exports going the other way.
The groups also called on the UK to maintain high standards in future trade deals with third countries. “In securing the future of established trade links, politicians must ensure that the UK does not enter into free trade agreements with third countries which produce beef and lamb to low standards. The integrity of the current market must be protected,” said NFU Scotland’s livestock policy manager John Armour.