The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) represented the views of its eighty-plus members in an industry response to Defra’s ‘Health & Harmony’ consultation.
Michael Bellingham, PFMA’s chief executive, advised: “As heavy users of UK agricultural produce we welcomed the opportunity to get involved in the debate around the future of farming in the UK. Around 80 per cent of our ingredients are UK sourced and it is vital for the health of our sector that we maintain access to this reliable supply of safe, high quality and high welfare raw materials.”
The vision shared in the paper is also consistent with PFMA’s three-year Pet Food Vision, which was launched in March.
Mr Bellingham continued: “The vision to develop and strengthen animal welfare is one we wholeheartedly support and is consistent with our ambitions for the future. As a co-sponsor (with the RSPCA) of the All Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) we have a high level of interest, and commitment in, the welfare of both companion and farm animals.
“We have some of the strongest feed safety and animal welfare standards in the world; these must be maintained and not undermined by imports with lower standards.”
Earlier this year PFMA undertook research on public attitudes to animal welfare when making food purchasing decisions. In a survey of over 2,000 households, it found that 75 per cent believe high welfare standards are important when purchasing meat.
This figure rose to 84 per cent amongst pet owners. Furthermore, 76 per cent of all households believe government should fund farmers to have higher welfare standards.
Looking beyond the UK, PFMA believes that high welfare standards provide a strong basis to increase exports to both existing and potentially new markets.