According to the president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), Minette Batters: “To sign up to a trade deal which results in opening our ports, shelves and fridges to food which would be illegal to produce here would not only be morally bankrupt, it would be the work of the insane.”

If so, then it has to be said that there are an awful lot of mad people in the world, including in advanced economies such as the United States where animal welfare standards can be, generally, lower than in Britain. The issue is now in focus because of Brexit, and the need to secure new trade deals with the EU, the US and others.

There will be intense pressure from America for Britain to open up its domestic and industrial market for American produce. This would indeed include genetically-modified items, livestock reared with growth hormones and a liberal, prescribed, use of antibiotics, and the now-notorious chlorine-washed or lactic acid-washed chicken – all not currently allowed in the UK. Some of these items might also be imported from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, for example, under any new trade relationships negotiated with these countries.

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