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I totally do not want to see UK food producers go out of business, it would be a disaster for this country in every respect. But they are fast doing just that, thanks to a misguided cheap food policy which benefits nobody except the big food retailers, and is largely responsible for the livestock industry having turned its back on extensive farming systems to keep up with exponential costs and distorted market forces.

This is too big a subject for an email but suffice it to say that welfare laws often look good on paper but that doesn't guarantee enforcement. This is particularly true abroad, which is precisely why I'm opposed to live exportation. Currently there are 2 inspectors to oversee all lairages, transportation etc in the EU. 2 people cannot properly enforce a whole directive! Which is why reports of over 30-hour-long journeys without breaks; tiers of insufficient headroom for the animals they are carrying; failure of water provisioning on lorries; sick, injured and pregnant animals on board and an unacceptably high number DoA, are legion. Indeed many EU member states refuse openly to enforce EU welfare policy at all.

In 1999 115 UK lambs along with 45 French sheep from one consignment died in an Italian port after being locked on a lorry for 3 days without water in soaring summer temperatures. (This after a journey of some 40 hours). They were en route to Greece and the trip by no means over. This was not a one-off, but the inevitable consequence of a system based on corporate profiteering which in my view is completely indefensible.