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WI Scraps Vote on 'Mega Farms' Resolution

by 5m Editor
9 June 2011, at 11:49am

UK - In an unprecedented move, the Women’s Institute AGM in Liverpool has decided not to vote on a resolution about ‘mega farms’.

The resolution, which would have formed a platform for WI campaigning, had been the subject of intensive NFU lobbying during the last few months. Farmers and staff travelled the country to speak to nearly 110 local WI groups

A vote was rejected at the eleventh hour as delegates questioned the wording and the clarity of the paragraph, which had called for the government to block planning permission for 'factory farming'.

NFU President Peter Kendall had addressed delegates on the issue at the Liverpool Echo Arena yesterday.

The decision not to vote at all on a resolution is thought to be a first of its kind for the WI.

The resolution was as follows: 'Proposed Mega Farms - This meeting abhors the practice of factory farming particularly large animals such as pigs and cows and urges HM Government to ensure planning permission is not granted for such projects.'

Speaking afterwards, Mr Kendall said: "The WI is an organisation that passionately supports British agriculture. Like the NFU, the WI wants to have a debate about the future of farming that’s based on the facts rather than myths and misconceptions. For our part, we very much look forward to being part of that debate.

"If British producers are going to rise to the challenge of feeding a growing population in this country – an estimated 70 million by 2030 – it is vital that the industry can join forces, to grow and to invest in the very latest equipment, housing and technology.

"If we don’t do that, we will find it difficult to compete against cheap, lower animal-welfare meat from the rest of the world. Right now, we are less than 60 per cent self-sufficient and the risk is that this will drop to 50% if we cannot find new ways of producing more here.

"The NFU will carry on tackling myths about livestock farming, and engaging in the debate about how British farmers can meet the food production challenge. Our farmers will continue, regardless of scale, to work to world-class welfare and environmental standards and to deliver a whole range of high-quality, affordable food to the British consumer."