Farmers Weekly | 2 October 2023
Canadian cattle groups say ’no’ to UK’s entry into CPTPP
by Philip Case
The Canadian meat industry has launched a campaign demanding its government block the UK’s accession to a new trans-Pacific trade deal unless it accepts imports of Canadian hormone-fed beef.
The Canadian Cattle Association, the Canadian Meat Council and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association launched the campaign, called “Say No to A Bad Deal”, which urges the Ottawa government to block the UK’s entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The Canadian government has a right to veto new members, but it announced on 15 July that it would grant the UK access to CPTPP.
As it stands, the Canadian red meat lobby says the deal will leave “significant barriers” in place for its farmers and producers as the UK government does not recognise Canada’s meat production and food processing systems and will therefore not allow imports of Canadian beef or pork.
“This is a bad deal for Canada. No deal is better than a bad deal. Bad deals create long-term consequences for Canada,” says the group.
“As it stands, the UK can continue to send over C$50m [£30.4m] of its meat products to Canada every year, while allowing the UK to accept 0% of Canadian meat in return.”
Prime minister Rishi Sunak has promised to protect the UK’s high environmental, food and animal welfare standards in any future trade deals.
In Canada, growth hormones are approved for use in beef cattle, but since Brexit the UK government has kept in place an EU ban on hormone-fed beef.
Liz Webster, a Wiltshire farmer and founder of the farming lobby Save British Farming, said: “Hormones are really bad for cattle. The animal welfare facts are horrific.
“The legs cannot cope with the faster growth of the animal and a percentage of cattle end up with bow legs.”
Ms Webster said the UK government would face a dilemma if the Canadian government decided to use its veto power to block UK entry into the CPTPP.
“Will the UK government back British farming standards, or will they just capitulate to the demands of the Canadian meat lobby and force us to accept hormone-fed meat?” she asked.
In a keynote speech at the NFU conference in February, Sir Keir Starmer promised that a Labour government would uphold UK food and farming standards in any future trade deals.