British farmers are highly concerned that animal welfare and environmental standards will be undermined in the UK's free trade deal with Australia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that the deal will benefit British farmers.

Downing Street said products including cars and Scotch whisky will be cheaper to sell to Australia because of the tariff-free agreement, while British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years.

However, Labour says that the government is “screwing over our farmers” after Australia’s trade ministry revealed that tariff-free protection periods would stop in five years for dairy products, and after 10 years for beef and lamb.

Luke Pollard MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “The government are screwing over our farmers the same way they screwed over the British fishing industry.

"To do so with one sentence in a press release, and no answers to the crucial questions it raises, shows a staggering contempt for Britain’s farming communities.”

NFU president Minette Batters said: “We have been clear about our concerns over the potential impact of trade deals that completely eliminate all tariffs on imports from the biggest agricultural exporters in the world.

“I am concerned that today’s announcement appears to have made no mention of animal welfare and environmental standards.

"We will need to know more about any provisions on animal welfare and the environment to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by the terms of this deal."

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Lack of detail is also of concern to RABDF chairman Peter Alvis, who said: “Despite repeated calls by the industry and collaboration of 18 industry bodies working together, we have yet to receive any detail on this agreement.

“Specifically, there is no recognition of animal welfare and environmental standards, net-zero and biodiversity, which is concerning.

“These are all points the government puts increasing pressure on our farmers to meet by imposing high standards, yet there are no details laid out on what standards milk and meat products entering from Australia will have been produced to.

"There is a huge worry, we could end up with products of lesser quality flooding our supermarket shelves and undermining the hard work of our farmers.

“There is also no information on the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, and this is something that needs addressing going forward."

The Soil Association asks what has happened to the no compromise to standards previously promised by the Conservatives.

Associate director farming Liz Bowles said: “Barely 24 hours after pledging more ambitious climate action through the G7 group, the UK has agreed a trade deal that threatens to offshore our climate impact and exacerbate the ecological emergency.

“Australian farmers are permitted to use growth hormones, prohibited pesticides, battery cages and sow stalls, and they are responsible for far more antibiotic use than producers in the UK.

"What happened to the Conservative manifesto pledge that there will be no compromise on our environmental, animal welfare and food standards?"

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is also questioning how the government will protect the UK’s high animal health and welfare standards.

BVA President James Russell said: “While the phasing in of tariff-free access gives British agriculture time to adjust, there appears to be no mechanism to ensure Australia must use that time to meet an appropriate level of animal welfare standards in order to secure tariff-free access to the UK market.

“With these key questions remaining, we’re calling on the government to spell out exactly how it will safeguard animal welfare standards as the UK steps out onto the global trading stage.”