The National Sheep Association (NSA) has hit out at Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers for failing to respond properly to fears about her proposal to force all farmers to sell livestock to their nearest abattoir.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker wrote to Ms Villiers before the General Election to express his concerns about the plans, which he claimed ‘lack practical sense’.
He said: “Ms Villiers’ response was simply ‘we have noted your points and they will be passed to the relevant policy teams’.
“Given we had written in substantial detail, offered [Farming Minister] George Eustice a chance to clarify her statements previously and made public statements asking for clarification, with none coming from anywhere, the response was inadequate.”
Mr Stocker added he was concerned this policy, and the plan to ban live exports, would be implemented even if Ms Villiers left Defra as part of the reshuffle expected in the New Year.
“It is widely known animal welfare campaigning is prevalent within the Number 10 household,” he said, making reference to Mr Johnson’s environmental activist partner, Carrie Symonds.
“And it is ironic Ms Villiers decided months ago she was not even going to consider the third area of public focus relating to welfare and sheep, non-stun slaughter, presumably because of electoral impact.”