Target: Secretary of State for Environment, Elizabeth “Liz” Truss
Goal: Support safe, humane poultry industry standards and prevent the return of food scares.
Following a recent trend by the Labour’s Better Regulation Taskforce, the meat industry has been consistently more privatized. Now, they are proposing a move that would eliminate government welfare inspections to go along with the lack of meat-hygiene inspections. This would allow poultry companies to hire and make their own inspections which would only be required to meet their own, private, standards of cleanliness and welfare. As history has shown us, allowing businesses to set their own private standards on food quality is most definitely not a good thing.
As recently as last year, the failings of allowing the poultry industry to regulate itself was shown in the 2015 “chicken bug scandal.” The Food Standards Agency’s watchdog found campylobacter in eight out of ten “fresh” chickens purchased from UK supermarkets. Campylobacter is a potentially lethal food-poisoning bug that, if not caught, would have caused an epidemic. This oversight cost the NHS nearly 900 million Euros, which is about the equivalent to 1 billion USD. This is an oversight that would not have happened were these poultry factories being properly inspected and held to a uniform standard.
After similar major scandals in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the UK enacted a series of very strict welfare regulations, which were still not fully being met. However, these did improve the state of the meat industry, but the major companies complained that these standards put them at a “competitive disadvantage.” In other words, being held to a standard of providing healthy food and improved conditions for their animals was not something they could do and continue to pocket their large sums of CEO money and compete with the many smaller companies. These claims were made despite there being nothing to show companies were losing money by maintaining these standards.
The deregulation is also being fueled by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which would lower the overall hygiene and health standards of meat products being exported into Europe, so claims have been made. Regardless of the why, there is plenty of historical and modern evidence to outline the precise reasons why allowing the meat industry to govern themselves is a terrible idea. It will jeopardize countless lives, not only for people, but also for the animals.
Dear Ms. Truss,
The poultry industry has recently undergone an unacceptable level of deregulation. More and more, it is moving into privatization and away from the universal standard maintained by health agencies. Now, the next step is to end government hygiene inspections before meat is shipped out. This cannot be allowed to happen.
The scare the UK faced in 2015 with eight in ten chickens being contaminated with food poisoning should be enough of a wake-up call. People are falling sick and dying because of diseased meat. In the modern world, this is a ridiculous and easily avoidable problem. A problem that can be addressed by maintaining uniform inspections throughout the UK in regards to meat health.
History has shown that companies responsible for poultry will not maintain a healthy standard. They care about money, not quality, and the more cheap the process of making money is, the better. Don’t put people’s lives at risk for the sake of corporations who lose nothing by being held to standard. Put an end to this farce of a trend in the poultry industry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alamy