Peer urges ministers to block feeding of animal remains to NI livestock
Ulster unionist peer Lord Rogan has demanded the UK Government take action to stop the EU allowing animal remains to be fed to livestock in Northern Ireland.
There has been a ban on feeding processed animal protein to livestock since the BSE crisis in the 1990s. However, discussions are reportedly ongoing about lifting the ban in the EU as early as next month.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Rogan told peers:
“The Prime Minister’s decision to sign up to the Northern Ireland Protocol has placed the Province’s agri-food business in an increasingly perilous situation.
“We were promised that Brexit would improve food standards right across the United Kingdom, but this will not be the case if processed animal protein is allowed to enter the food chain in Northern Ireland.”
He asked Rural Affairs Minister Lord Benyon:
“What representations has the Government made to Brussels to stop this policy from being extended into Northern Ireland?
“Can you tell the House if Boris Johnson was aware that the EU’s ban on animal protein was about to be lifted before he agreed to place a regulatory border in the Irish Sea?”
Replying, Lord Benyon conceded that “this was a matter that was announced in May, but it has been under discussion for a long time.”
He told Lord Rogan:
“This is a not an issue that is affecting the Northern Ireland Protocol or any other aspect of trade with Northern Ireland,” adding, “we have ongoing discussions with the EU at a scientific and animal heath level and will continue to do so.”
Speaking afterwards, Lord Rogan said he was “alarmed that Lord Benyon had singularly failed to grasp the nature and seriousness of the issue we are facing.”
He added: “Yet again, the UK Government is asleep at the wheel and driving towards a very large wall in relation to Northern Ireland in general and the agri-food sector in particular.”