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Westminster Tractor Demo

Our Tractors Return to Westminster!

On October 12th Save British Farming organised our second Westminster Demo.  As tractors and other farm vehicles mustered at New Covent Garden, MPs in the Commons began a debate on Amendment 16 – whether to include standards in the new Agriculture Bill.  Our ‘tractorcade’ wended its way along the south embankment to Lambeth Bridge where it crossed and made its way to Smith’s Square, home to the government’s DEFRA offices.  The BBC and other press were waiting, along with some politicians including Luke Pollard – Labour’s shadow DEFRA minster, and Tim Farron who holds a similar position in the Lib Dems.

Labour Shadow DEFRA minister, Luke Pollard, with SBF volunteers, Anna & Emma

From there, they went back over Lambeth Bridge, crossed Westminster Bridge and made their way to Trafalgar Square, before passing Downing Street and entering Parliament Square for a few rotations.

After the demo, tractors were directed to Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament where the press was waiting to interview those who took part. 

All in all, it was a great day, with a great publicity both on national news and in the national press the next day.

Unfortunately, the government whipped Conservative MPs to vote down the amendment, with only 14 rebelling.

The Lords will send another similar amendment back to the Commons, and we’ll be there when it arrives.

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Swindon Tractor Demo

Our latest Tractor Demo got heads turning in Swindon!

Wiltshire farmers mustered at the Swindon County Ground ahead of a tractor demonstration around the Old Town.  Local farmers are angry at the government’s failure to include standards in the Agriculture Bill.

The ‘tractorcade’ circled the oldest part of the town several times, to the claps of supporters and bystanders. 

The route included passing local MP Robert Buckland’s office.  

Afterwards, everyone felt buoyed up by the experience, and they’re ready to repeat it if the Commons fails to vote through the Lords amendment safeguarding our standards.

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Stokesley Tractor Demo

Stokesley Demo a Great Success!

On October 9th, Save British Farming organised another tractor demo in the northeast, this time in Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

We had great turnout, even bigger than Northallerton and far better than expected!🚜🚜🚜

Around 20 tractors, crop sprayers and pickups with trailers joined us.

One of our campaign team, Richard Sadler as there and says, “They drove up and down the High Street at 10 mph sounding their horns.  Bystanders burst into spontaneous applause – and clapped and cheered.  It’s very obvious that farmers have very strong support from the public – everyone values farming in Yorkshire and no one wants cheap, nasty imports like chlorinated chicken from US factory farms.”

One of the tractors made another stop at MP Rishi Sunak’s office, where farmer Graham Clarke delivered his SECOND letter to the Chancellor urging him to back Lords amendment to Agriculture Bill. Graham still hasn’t heard back after the first letter was delivered after the Northallerton demo on September 25th. 

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Northallerton Demo

SBF Comes to Northallerton, Yorkshire

On a bright Autumn day, tractors gathered outside the North Yorkshire market town of Northallerton.  Decked in our red banners, the tractors rolled up the High Street where a crowd of supporters waving Yorkshire flags cheered and clapped as they went past. 

Afterwards a small rally listened to speeches from a number of people including Lord Newby, the LibDem peer, and Jon Johnson, the SBF representative there.

Farmers are protesting the Agriculture Bill’s failure to include food and animal welfare standards.  Without them, farmers will be undercut by cheaper, lower quality imports.  Added to this, if the government fails to agree a deal with the EU, many livestock farmers will go out of business.

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Northallerton Tractor Demo

Northallerton Tractor Demo

Farmers are planning a demonstration in North Yorkshire against Government plans for post-Brexit trade deals with Donald Trump and others which could have devastating consequences for farmers and the people of North Yorkshire.

Where: Northallerton, North Yorkshire
When: Friday 25th September from 12:30pm

A convoy of tractors and farm vehicles will drive up Northallerton High Street demanding safeguards to stop imports of hormone-treated beef and pork and chlorinated chicken undercutting Yorkshire farmers.

A letter will be delivered to local Richmond MP Rishi Sunak calling on him to back an expected amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would stop imports of food products produced to lower animal welfare, food safety and environmental standards than those required of UK farmers.

The protest will culminate in speeches around 1:30pm from a series of invited guests including at least one surprise high-profile individual with close ties to the Conservative Party.

The protest is being jointly organised by the campaign groups Save British Farming and #3.5%.

Muster point: layby off A684 by 12.30pm on Friday. Look for “Save British Farming” signs. If travelling from Leeming Bar, follow A684 through Morton and Ainderby Steeple, then look for layby on right immediately after crossroads signed for Romanby on left and Warlaby on right

If travelling from east, drive through Northallerton town centre, take A684 to Leeming/A1, then look for layby on left just as you’re leaving 40 mph zone.

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Save Welsh Farming

Tractor Demos and a Rally in Wales

Save British Farming, in collaboration with Undod, held a series of tractor demos around in Wales in Builth Wells, Crymych and Cowbridge where a rally took place.  The protest was to defend farming and food standards which are not protected by the new Agriculture Bill.  

One farmer explained why he’s protesting.

“The cumulative impact of the Agriculture Bill, Trade Bill, & ‘no-deal’ Brexit is likely to cause a rupture within Welsh agriculture. The beneficiaries will likely be US agri-monopolies exporting food products with fewer regulations, & large Welsh businesses who will survive by exploiting the farm workers who create their profits. Smallholders, employed farm workers, & workers who labour in modern slavery conditions will bear the brunt of the crisis.

“But the crises in Welsh agriculture go much further than this. Welsh farming is a social and ecological catastrophe; there is urgent need for a radical reconsideration of our ecology, food production and our relationship to land. This is a conversation that involves ALL of us, but it has a class dimension. It is also a struggle; farm workers owning & controlling the land & production process is a vital part of this conversation.

“Though in Industrial Workers of the World Cymru we don’t have a huge amount of experience organising in this industry, if farm workers want to try to organise in defence of conditions or to grow their power at the expense of their bosses, we will be proactive in our support & will do all we can!”

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Westminster Demo Success!

On an overcast day in early July, drivers in central London found themselves in a situation that’s familiar to anyone used to rural living: getting stuck behind a slow-moving tractor.  Except in this case, it was many tractors, plus a cavalcade of other vehicles including a group of animal rights activists dressed as fruit and vegetables.

Animal rights and environmental campaigners joined Save British Farming for the Westminster Demo.

How did this come about?  Volunteer activists, including Celebrity Masterchef-winner Emma Kennedy, concerned about British food standards and the impact of cheap food imports on British farming and food production, invited selected farmers to drive their tractors and cars on a socially-distanced drive-slow demonstration around Parliament Square.

So, on Wednesday 8th July 2020, the tractorcade gathered at New Covent Garden Market, Vauxhall and set off just after 1pm. They slowly criss-crossed Vauxhall, Lambeth and Westminster Bridges before circling up to Trafalgar Square and back down Whitehall into Parliament Square for a finale of three loops in front of Palace of Westminster where a large crowd and a veritable posse of press photographers had gathered to cheer this unusual sight on.

Edwin and his partner drove up from Hampshire, starting their journey the day before and camping out in their trailer.

Save British Farming organised the demo to launch our summer campaign.  We believe the Government is betraying voters and the British public by reneging on its manifesto pledge to uphold our world beating British food and animal welfare standards. They want to pass an Agriculture Bill that will ditch UK animal welfare and environmental standards for farm imports, flood the market with low-quality food and destroy Britain’s world-class farming industry.

We must save our farms and our British food industry.  We must protect and promote our high-standards of food safety and sustainability – not allow sub-standard imports that will threaten the nation’s health, the survival of family farms countrywide and rural economies.

Organiser, Liz Webster

Wiltshire farmer and event organiser, Liz Webster, commented, “The Agriculture Bill is disastrous for British farming; it threatens the safety of our food and diminishes our food security.  Imports from countries that are allowed to produce food with lower standards mean that British farmers won’t be able to compete and this will decimate our industry – just as imported coal put British coal out of business in the 1980s.

“Offshoring our food production half way across the world will lead to further destruction of the Amazon rainforest to make way for grazing land.  It will also add more food miles.  Both are a backwards and dangerous step. We need to ensure our food security through sustainable food production, so when disasters such as Covid or a climate event strike, we can continue to feed the nation.

“We were delighted this demo to launch our campaign got off to such a great start.  Please sign up here to follow our campaign and get involved to fight to maintain our world beating food and animal welfare standards.”

Darren Jones, Member of Parliament Bristol North West explained, “We need to see an Agriculture Bill that protects our legal guarantees on animal welfare and environmental standards in future trade talks. Ethical, sustainable and competitive farming is something that farmers, consumers and animal rights activists all agree on. I hope that the Government listens to this shared call on Wednesday and places food security, animal welfare and net-zero targets as central to our agricultural strategy.”

A board and banner campaign begins in August.

This demo was the inaugural event of Save British Farming.  A summer of activities is planned to highlight how together we can save Britain from the horrors of chlorinated chicken and hormone-fuelled beef and regressive/cruel animal welfare practices.  Save British Farming is launching a

  • Letter-writing campaign where supporters can write to their MPs, local Conservative Associations and supermarkets, requesting that the British EU food standards are maintained.

  • Board-of-Broken-Promises campaign offering farmers and individuals banners to place in their fields/properties to raise awareness about concerns to their communities.

  • Harvest Festival: opportunities for farmers to voice their concerns in their local areas after harvest is over.
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In the news again!

Farmers Weekly Article

“British farmers are planning to drive tractors to Westminster to protest against concerns the UK government’s Agriculture Bill will “sell them down the river”.

“The campaign group Save British Farming is calling on farmers to drive tractors to Parliament Square for a “socially-distanced demo” from 1pm on Wednesday 8 July.”

Read more here.

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Join Our Westminster Demo

route map

The Government is selling British farmers down the river. This July they want to pass an Agriculture Bill that will ditch UK animal welfare and environmental standards for farm imports, flood the market with cheap, low-quality food and destroy Britain’s world-class farming industry.

We must save our farms and farmers.

We must protect and promote our high standards of food safety and sustainability – not allow sub-standard imports that will threaten the nation’s health and survival of family farms countrywide.

So on the 8th July, we will be in our tractors, trucks and cars for a socially-distanced demo up to Parliament Square (Arriving approximately 13:30).

Date and Time: Wed, 8 July 2020. 13:00

Location: Parliament Square

In order to attend the demo you must be in a vehicle so we maintain social distancing rules at all times, and you must have registered your details with the organisers via Eventbrite.

We hope you can join us there. Please sign up at our Eventbrite page.

If you can’t be there on the day, please consider chipping to help fund the campaign at our Crowdfunder page.

Together we can save Britain from chlorinated chicken, hormone-fuelled beef and damaging pesticides.