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Environment Secretary: "This criminal activity should be stopped"

Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP, has said that buying something labelled beef which ends up being horse meat is "fraud".

Speaking at the NFU conference in Birmingham, where one thousand farmers have gathered, he also told listeners "we must ensure the British public have confidence in the industry and what they're eating".

1,000 farmers attend NFU conference in Birmingham

1,000 farmers have gathered at the NFU conference in Birmingham to discuss what has been described as "a diabolical year".

Farmers across the region have been facing a whole number of problems - drought, floods, tuberculosis, HS2 running through their farms and the horse meat scandal.

They've heard how more food will have to be produced in England instead of being imported from other countries, because our population could increase by the equivalent size of "four Birmingham's" in the next eight years.

Farmers from across the Midlands have been talking to ITV News Central.

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Environment Secretary tells conference badger cull will help

Owen Paterson MP at NFU conference Credit: ITV News Central

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today told farmers a badger cull would help prevent the spread of bovine TB:

"Bovine TB is spreading at an alarming rate and causing real devastation to our beef and dairy industry.

"The authorisation letters issued today confirming culling can proceed this summer in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset is an important step towards taking the action we need to tackle the spread of this disease in wildlife."

Environment Secretary: Horsemeat scandal was 'totally unacceptable'

Owen Paterson MP Credit: PA

Secretary of State at Defra, Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, says sale of horse meat as beef was totally unacceptable.

He told the NFU conference in Birmingham.

"I am determined this criminal activity should be stopped."

Owen Paterson MP at the conference Credit: ITV News Central

NFU president: 'a diabolical year for farming'

NFU president address the NFU conference in Birmingham Credit: ITV News Central

Peter Kendall, the NFU president is addressing farmers from across the UK at the anual National Farmers Union conference at Birmingham's ICC this morning. He says it has been a 'diabolical year' for farming.

Mr Kendall says Britain needs greater self sufficiency in food production and that England's population will have to grow by more than four million people within eight years. He said:

"That's more than four Birmingham's worth of extra mouths to feed."

Farmers have come to Birmingham for the conference to discuss issue that have affected them in the past year.

The recent horsemeat scandal is high on the agenda as well as prices of animal feed and the recent bad weather affecting crop.

NFU president Peter Kendall Credit: ITV News Central
West Midlands farmers at the NFU conference in Birmingham Credit: ITV News Central

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NFU: Consumers want more British meat

More than three-quarters of consumers wants supermarkets to stock more food from British farms, according to a National Farmers' Union survey:

  • 78% said supermarkets should sell more food from British farms
  • 43% said they were more likely to buy traceable food from farms in Britain following the horsemeat scandal

A thousand people were polled by the union.

  1. National

NFU boss: Farmers 'furious' about horsemeat scandal

The head of the NFU has called for better labelling of British meat Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The head of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has said farmers are "furious" about the horsemeat scandal.

Peter Kendall said that shorter supply chains and better labelling of British meat would help prevent a repeat.

He added: "Our research also demonstrates the strong demand for British-farmed products, and so retailers, processors and food service companies have a responsibility to ensure there is clear country of origin labelling on the products that consumers purchase."

Horsemeat scandal on agenda at NFU conference

Horsemeat scandal on the agenda at the NFU conference in Birmingham Credit: PA

The horsemeat scandal, the row over milk prices and the crop crisis will be on the agenda at the National Farmers' Union conference in Birmingham today.

The Tesco CEO Philip Clarke will tell the conference he wants to buy more meat from the UK after horsemeat was found in some of the supermarket's own brand beef products.

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will also be there to speak to concerned farmers from across the country.

They're worried about government funding, the effects of poor weather and rising feed costs.

More than 1000 farmers are expected at the event which is on at the International Convention Centre for the next two days.

  1. National

Tesco unveils measures to clean supply chain

Tesco has announced three measures designed to ensure that another horsemeat scandal does not happen.

Three products were withdrawn from the supermarket chain after one brand of burger was found to contain as much as 30% horsemeat in DNA tests. The measures are as follows:

  • Import less meat from overseas
  • Develop closer relationships with suppliers in the UK
  • A new internal testing regime
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