Agricultural Policy

Governments announce stricter animal movements and ban on live exports

The UK and Welsh Governments announced on 18th August that animal movement rules would be tightened up significantly, despite standards in other countries being far lower than what is already required in the UK. The announcement also confirmed that the new proposals would be introduced alongside a ban on live animal exports destined for slaughter.

This comes weeks after the UK agreed a trade deal in principle with Australia that will allow the importation of vast volumes of food produced from animals that are moved in conditions that would already be completely illegal in the UK.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised “in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards,” however, the UK Government chose not to enshrine those standards in the Agriculture Act 2020, nor in the recent Australia trade deal negotiations which agreed to massively increase tariff free access for Australian beef and lamb with negligible guarantees on welfare standards.

Nearly half of Australia's cattle and sheep live exports travel over 9000 miles by sea under far lower welfare standards than those required in the UK.

Merits and drawbacks of carbon trading quotas to be discussed by FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is set to discuss the merits and drawbacks of limiting the amount of carbon credits that can be sold from Welsh land, carbon trading quotas and other approaches that might be applied in Wales.

During a recent meeting of the FUW Land Use and Parliamentary Committee, members expressed extreme concern that a large proportion of the carbon locked and sequestered in Welsh land could be sold to other countries and companies outside Wales, undermining the ability of Welsh agriculture or even Wales as a whole to become carbon neutral.

Delegates also highlighted ongoing concerns that Welsh farms are being purchased by companies from outside Wales in order to cash in on Wales’ carbon. Such concerns were recently reflected in a BBC report which revealed that twelve farms had been bought in mid Wales by companies outside of the country which aimed to largely plant trees on the land.

The committee agreed that a quota system should be introduced to reduce this risk, and it was agreed at a subsequent meeting of the FUW’s Presidential Policy Team that the pros and cons of such limits should be the subject of detailed discussion by all FUW Committee Chairmen and the Presidential Team.

FUW Animal Health & Welfare Committee responds to FAWL Standards Consultation

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) Animal Health & Welfare Committee held an emergency meeting on 28th July 2021 to discuss and form a response to the Farm Assured Welsh Livestock (FAWL) 2021 Standards consultation.

The consultation proposed the compulsory recording of antibiotic use data by the vet via an online calculator along with stricter environmental standards to name just a few.

The FUW made it clear that four weeks during one of the busiest times in the farming calendar was far from enough time for its twelve County Executive Committees to discuss the proposals and form a full, democratic response, and therefore requested for the deadline to be extended.

The majority of Welsh lamb and beef producers are FAWL assured and while it may be a voluntary scheme for many, it is in fact compulsory for the majority of dairy farmers’ milk contracts therefore the importance of changes to such standards must not be taken lightly.

FUW highlights importance of small abattoirs in response to FSA consultation

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has highlighted the importance of supporting small and medium sized abattoirs in response to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) stakeholder consultation on early proposals for a future delivery model.

The consultation set out proposals on how the future delivery model should move away from the current standardised approach and towards a targeted and modernised way of working to improve overall compliance and the distribution of resources.

The FUW supported proposals on a tailored presence for Food Business Operators (FBOs) with varying levels of compliance, different rules for those supplying the domestic and/or export markets and the collection of more accurate data, however, concerns remained in regards to how such changes could affect food safety and increase costs for small and medium FBOs.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) report recently revealed that there were 30,000 abattoirs in the UK in 1930 but in 2017, there were just 249, 56 of which were small red meat abattoirs.

British Wool launches traceable wool scheme

In an attempt to offer a premium payment for UK wool producers, British Wool has recently launched an initiative which aims to trace wool from the farm gate through to the end product.

The closure of global wool markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic left British Wool with around 7 million kilograms (kgs) of unsold stock from a total 2019/20 clip of 27 million kgs. This meant that producers were paid an average of 17 pence per kg for the 2019/20 season clip, around 70% lower than the payment received in 2019.

While British Wool has managed to clear the stockpile from last year and prices have therefore started to recover, prices aren’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.

The new traceable wool scheme will allow consumers to understand the process wool must go through before reaching the shelf but also generate a premium price for eligible producers and aid the recovery of wool prices following the Covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers


In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: 


Important links relating to the Coronavirus:

The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus:

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here:

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020:

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses):

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders:

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus:

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020:

Senedd Research Blog: