THE news that MPs had voted against safeguarding our food and farming in the Agriculture Bill came as a disappointment to say the least.

Despite the establishment by the government of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, I remain dubious that standards in British food and farming will be maintained after post-Brexit trade deals, especially with the US.

Anyone who watched the recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme “Dirty Secrets of American Food: Coming soon to a supermarket near you” will know what we risk.

Next year, Britain will be hosting the global climate summit, COP 26. For there to be a successful outcome to these crucial negotiations, Britain needs to remain one of the leading countries in emissions reduction (with a target of net zero by 2050).

We should not be seen as a country that “offshores” its emissions by importing and consuming products produced to lower environmental standards.

UK farming has been striving to produce food with lower environmental impact in recent years and it would be a shame if we were unable to compete with the arrival of cheap imported food. Do we really want a race to the bottom where our food is concerned?

Josephine Downs, Swinton

Save on lights

SO Ryedale District council want to save money on street lighting.

This morning I needed to use the bathroom at 4.50am. I was astonished to find that the street lights were on. Why?

J Taylor, Pickering

UC system is mess

PERHAPS the mess which is Universal Credit needs to be conquered very soon. While it may tick all the right political boxes, it actually is a mess.

Many of the recipients are in debt to the benefits office before getting the first payment.

On switching or joining the scheme, a fairly sizeable advance is offered, but many are dazzled by the amount offered, so when the real payday starts they are already on the back foot.

Under the original system most were broke for a few days before the fortnightly payment arrived. Now it’s weeks.

Various ministers have ridden roughshod over advice from specialist organisations. Faced with uncomfortable truths, the government starts the blame game. I wouldn’t trust the modern political person with a kitten’s welfare.

Remember the adage, “don’t forget who you meet on the way up, you will need them on the way down”.

Kevin Butt, Pickering

Help for pets

THE Covid-19 pandemic continues to be exceptionally difficult for all of us, but has also led to crisis levels of “pet poverty” in the UK.

PDSA is a charity that provides free and low-cost vet care for those who struggle to pay treatment costs for their sick and injured pets.

Since the first UK lockdown began, we’ve seen an overwhelming number of additional enquiries from pet owners who have hit hard times. In the first three months of lockdown alone, we carried out more than 6,400 operations and 15,000 x-rays for pets in need.

On average, we’re providing 2,300 phone appointments every day to desperate pet owners. We predict there will be as many as 50,000 more pets eligible for our services over the months ahead, as a direct result of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

For many sick and injured pets, whose owners are struggling financially, PDSA is their only emergency service.

For more information on PDSA and the pet care crisis and how you can help, please visit

Thank you.

Paul Manktelow, PDSA Vet