The author of food science book, "Sorting the Beef from the Bull" has written in to our letters column to express his disappointment in Jacob Rees Mogg's comments on hormone-reared beef.
I listened with dismay to the Farming Programme on BBC Radio Four where there was an item about our parliamentary representative, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg’s recent remarks on the subject of imported hormone-reared beef into the UK. He seemed oblivious as to why the use of growth hormones in farming is banned in the UK. The episode is available on BBC Sounds - search for “Farming Today” on the 7th October.
Our MP would, “be very happy to eat Australian beef but it should be a matter of choice”. The interviewer, who seemed incredulous at what he’d said, asked him “you’re calling for hormone injected beef from Australia because it’s cheaper?” and he replied “if people want to eat it they should be free to”. He went on “I was visiting the farmers in my constituency last week and the successful farmers in NE Somerset can compete globally because they are producing effectively and cheaply and economically and they’re investing.”
I was appalled - there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions with what he said, it’s difficult to know where start. He seems so wrapped up in his Conservative ideology to have lost all touch with the reality of representing his constituents. Growth hormones are banned because they are potentially damaging to human health. And the idea of flooding the UK market with cheap hormone raised beef would only serve to undermine our beef farmers by undercutting the prices they could get for their prime product. Rees-Mogg seemed to be suggesting this was okay because of free-market economic principles!
He went on to attack the National Farmers Union for acting in a protectionist manner. NFU president Minette Batters has roundly rejected Rees-Mogg’s stand saying he was “irrelevant” and was clearly aghast at his remarks, given growth hormones were banned from UK agriculture thirty years ago. She said his remarks were “morally bankrupt”. I can only to agree, his remarks seemed all over the place and are evidence of a malaise pervading a Tory Government in a downward spiral.
Perhaps it’s time for new a parliamentary representative for our new seat of NE Somerset and Hanham – someone more in touch with local people and less worried about promoting his extreme free market ideas, which disregard the long-term health of his constituents and the welfare of the animals raised on our farms, for the sake of importing inferior meat.
P.S. I’m author of the book “Sorting the Beef from the Bull” published by Bloomsbury Press.