Oh dear

The most tangible undertaking that Herbert was to address the manner in which the public sector procures the £2 billion worth of food that it consumes per annum. All the bacon that the Army eats is foreign, much of it not reared to the animal welfare standards to which our farmers have to adhere. This is clearly a nonsense.

Very much oh dear.

The purpose of production is consumption. If we can consume more for the same money, or the same for less money, by buying from one source rather than another, then that makes us richer. For we are either consuming more for the same income or have income left over after our desired consumption of bacon is satiated.

To forget or ignore this is the nonsense.

If British farmers cannot make the bacon the Army desires at the price that others can then they shouldn\’t be selling to the Army. And if no one else wants the bacon that British farmers can make at then price they wish to offer it then British farmers should stop making that bacon.

This process creates wealth which is, after all, the point of an economy.

9 comments on “Oh dear

  1. Tim, are you not ignoring the fact that British farmers cannot match the price because they have regulations (and enforcement thereof) making HOW they work much more expensive, whereas other coountries do not ? Hardly a level playing field.

    And then, those who enforce these regulations – for the army effectively the state purchasing agents – take their business elsewhere, complaining of the price ?

    Alan Douglas

  2. As a farmer I have to chime in and say while I’ll attempt to compete on price with anyone, its a bit rich to enforce rules on livestock welfare and environmental standards in the UK, but allow imports that do not come up to those standards. Thats called having your cake and eating it. Either you want cheap produce (and are prepared to put up with the associated non price costs that come with that) or you can have more ethical production, but pay more for it. Not both.

  3. Who gives a fuck about British farmers? They’re a nugatory fraction of the workforce with the miraculous ability to leverage special pleading into political clout far out of proportion to their worth.

    And food-animal welfare’s a crock, too.Unless it materially affects the taste of the meat, I couldn’t care less. You might as well be worrying about potato welfare.

  4. UK food producers should not be forced to comply with welfare standards which are not applied to imports.

    If standards of welfare, quality, hygiene etc are made compulsory, they should be applied to all foods offered for sale, not just foods raised and grown here.

  5. @AntiCitizenOne:
    Precisely – we are banned in the UK from branding UK produce with a Union flag (which is the most obvious brand to use). The EU won’t allow it under free competition laws. The little red tractor logo you may have seen on produce DOES NOT ensure that it is UK produce, merely that it was ‘processed’ here under UK rules. So meat can me imported from abroad, and butchered and packaged here and still have the red tractor logo. Equally you don’t have to label food as produced abroad if you don’t want to. So you have to assume that unless it says ‘Produced in the UK’ somewhere on the package it is most likely foreign.

    @David Gillies: You want cheap food – no problem. I’ll try and produce that. If I can’t I should go bust. Thats market economics. Just don’t vote for extra environmental and animal welfare laws here in the UK that mean I can’t compete with Brazilian beef, or Thai chicken (for example).

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