Farmers For Action NI attend London tractor protest

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Representatives from Farmers For Action in Northern Ireland travelled to London on Monday to support Save British Farming in a “huge” tractor protest.

The protest began at New Covent Garden and travelled across Vauxhall Bridge to Westminster Square, then around the square and leaving via Big Ben, all at a slow pace.

Save British Farming and many other supporting groups all came together to drive their tractors and, indeed, some other well turned out 4x4s into London where the drivers, old and young, claimed they felt like ‘rock stars’.

They were truly taken back by the support of people hanging out of windows, running out of their offices, taxis and cars blowing horns in support, even cyclists were giving them the thumbs up, along with the huge support of the large numbers of people, including parents and children, along the route and at the square, yet not forgetting how helpful the many police officers were in cars, vans and motorbikes in helping accommodate the tractors on the route and then those on foot at the square.

The London protest beside Big Ben and Westminster was a "huge success". (Pic: FFA)The London protest beside Big Ben and Westminster was a "huge success". (Pic: FFA)
The London protest beside Big Ben and Westminster was a "huge success". (Pic: FFA)

FFA’s William Taylor, who was present, said the the protest’s main aims were to “highlight dishonest food labelling, call on government to act to block sub-standard food imports and, in addition, take action to address fears over national food security.”

William Taylor continued: “The biggest let down of the protest was DEFRA Farm Minister Mark Spencer’s press release, part of which stated, ‘We firmly back our farmers. British farming is at the heart of British trade, and we put agriculture at the forefront of any deals we negotiate, prioritising new export opportunities, protecting UK food standards and removing market access barriers’.

“The truth is the Tories have negotiated a number of trade deals in the wake of Brexit eg Australia – far from a being a plus for either Australian farmers or UK farmers, it merely presents an opportunity for corporate shipping companies, corporate food importers and corporate food retailers to fill their boots as they tell the Australian farmer, we can buy the produce cheaper at home, and conversely they tell the UK farmers they can buy the produce cheaper in Australia.

“If this is what Mark Spencer calls backing our farmers then the Tories have been in office long enough. On the other hand, if he was to ensure that farmers get properly paid for their produce and trade deals no longer involved, Australian lamb passing UK lamb (of which we are self-sufficient) on the high seas, then he might be on the right track, both with farmers and UK Government’s commitments on climate change emissions.”

Representatives from Farmers For Action in Northern Ireland travelled to London on Monday to support Save British Farming in a huge tractor protest that started at New Covent Garden. (Pic: FFA)Representatives from Farmers For Action in Northern Ireland travelled to London on Monday to support Save British Farming in a huge tractor protest that started at New Covent Garden. (Pic: FFA)
Representatives from Farmers For Action in Northern Ireland travelled to London on Monday to support Save British Farming in a huge tractor protest that started at New Covent Garden. (Pic: FFA)

The London protest beside Big Ben and Westminster was a “huge success” in making the point that “UK farmers along with European farmers have had enough of political and food corporate fudge”, the FFA added.

“It is time for a change of government and time for legislation on farm gate prices to deliver family farmers a minimum of the true cost of production inflation linked plus a margin for their produce, then farmers could sustainably deliver on food security, on the environment and on climate change.”