24/02/2013 The Wales Report


From farm gate to your plate, just how much Welsh meat is eaten in Wales? And what can be done to kick homophobia in Welsh sport into touch?

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Another week and another scandal about our meat. We investigate what


is really going on between the farm gate and your plate.


More powers for the Assembly? Are they really up to it? And what can


be done to kick homophobia in Welsh sport into touch for good?


I could either be gay or be a professional rugby referee. It was


a difficult decision, the most difficult time of my life. So


difficult that it drove me to attempt to take my own life.


Good evening and welcome to the programme that examines the issues


that impact on our lives in Wales and scrutinises those making the


all-important decisions. Over the last couple of weeks there seems to


have been an endless stream of worrying stories about the meat and


what we might have been eating. Latest concerns in Wales revolve


around school dinners. In a country with a long tradition of producing


high quality meat, what is going wrong with the whole system? Just


why can't good quality, locally- produced food also be cheap enough


for most of us to afford? Helen Callaghan has been investigating


what exactly happens to our meat from farm gate to your plate, and


she has discovered some Welsh meat is sought-after and


enjoyed around the world. And now that consumers are very keen to


know exec the what they are eating and rarities from, what could be


more straightforward than eating Welsh meat from the fields and


hills all around us? Surprisingly, that is not always the case. If a


group of 100 sheep represented the lamb reproduced in Wales every year,


60 would go to the rest of the UK. Another 35 would be exported,


leaving just five in our field destined for Welsh dinner plates.


Ed, who farms in the Vale of Glamorgan, is convinced more people


here would love to buy more home reared meat, but only if the price


in the shops better reflected the praise he gets at the farm gates.


We have lost about 25 to 30% of the value of what we produce. There is


an awful lot of money going elsewhere, somebody is making money


with a lamb, we are not. Ed gets less than �100 for a lamb, but by


the time it is in the shops, the price of the lamb has more than


doubled. So is it the slaughterers and processes who are dipping their


fingers in the mint sauce and marking up the price of the lamb?


Not according to those who monitor the markets. The wholesale price


across the UK has also come down. In fact, the abattoirs and


processor eggs are being squeezed. Increasingly, the supermarkets are


the big players in the market. Their buying power can make or


break a product, and half the small abattoirs in Wales have shut down


since the 1990s, meaning animals often have to travel further before


slaughter. There are fewer and fewer plants that process red meat


in the UK. It is increasingly difficult to identify the


traceability of animals. We have seen these through... Particularly


with highly processed meat products. Finally, the cut and packed parcels


of meat end up in the supermarket. The farmers and the abattoirs and


processes are getting paid about a third less than last year. But the


price we are playing in the supermarket has hardly changed. One


of the big supermarket chains, Morrisons, say the market reflects


production costs and they in particular pay farmers a fair price.


I think if anybody ever goes into the processing plant, a meat


processing plant, they are struck by the sheer volume of people


working there, it is very labour- intensive, so there is a lot of


cost involved in taking the stock from the farm gates and then the


meat ending up on the supermarket I all the butcher shelf in the


supermarket, so that at some cost to to it. We pay our farmers a fair


price and often pay, for example, a bit more than the others are paying.


But there is another way, a Welsh wave. It bypasses the supermarkets


altogether. Douglas Willis control every stage of their food


production, rearing animals near Newport and selling products in


their shop. They can tell their customers exactly where it comes


from. We have full traceability from our farms to the abattoir to


our cutting plant and straight to the shops. This full traceability


means they can trust us. There is a saving, nobody else is involved. We


give the saving back to the customer. They say what has worked


for them could work across Wales. And it would help to address the


current concerns about food standards. Customers have seen what


can happen when prices are low and supply chains are long and they are


queuing up to get back to the local butcher. Business here has gone up


by a quarter since the horsemeat scandal. According to industry


experts, although exports will always be important for Welsh meat,


this is a unique opportunity for the Welsh meat industry to retarget


and roll its Hulme mass-market. -- and grow its home mass-market.


Ed and farmers like him would love to take the power back from the


supermarkets. He says it would be better for him and better for us.


think the reality is that what we get and what the consumer pays is


out of control in the supermarkets. We have become complacent, we are


under control of the supermarket, and they are not giving us enough


for what we are producing. So is it time for the Welsh Government to


become more involved in making good Welsh meet affordable for all of


us? -- Welsh meat. Helen Callaghan reporting. Joining


me now is the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries,


Labour's Alun Jones. Is the Government doing enough? I hope we


are. I announced a special package of support for lamb producers


saying we would work with individual businesses to make them


more efficient and enable them to sell on the product at a more


reasonable... Creating a more reasonable profit for themselves.


But at the same time, one of the points made in the report was about


the whole supply chain. We have said for some years that we need


greater transparency in this, but it is not sufficient to simply


blame the supermarkets, that is an inadequate response. We need to


look at the supply chain and ensure it is fair to everybody. If you


might say it is unfair to blame the supermarket, but they have an iron


grip on the market. It seems a bit barmy that we are producing all


this wonderful food, this magnificent meat coming out of


Wales, and only a small fraction has consumed here? I did not say it


was unfair, I said it was an inadequate response. We need to do


more than just blame the supermarkets. We need to make sure


there is profit available through the supply chain and good value for


the consumer. In terms of where we are, the amount of meat we produce,


we are a small country but we produce a lot of lamb, we are the


most significant producers in Europe, so we will always exported.


Coup at 95% of it, why don't we ensure that the market desire for


cheap food, good quality food, is being met more effectively? --


butter 95% of it. I think it is, but we will always export, we are


one of the great lamp producing nations of the world. We need to


ensure that Welsh lamb is available to more markets across the world


than ever before. One significant home market is local authorities -


schools, hospitals etc. Does their meat come from Wales? I hope so.


You don't know? If you look at the report about procurement, we have


made it clear that we want to see more procurement in Wales from


Wales? It is a matter for individual authorities to ensure


they get the best value for council tax payers. One question before we


move on, where does the Assembly get its meat? In terms of what


government and the Assembly, we ensure that it is produced from


Wales, I want to see Welsh producers producing food for us.


all the food consumed by the Assembly is Welsh produce? I can't


give you guarantees. Why not? want to see procurement acting as a


tool to enable us to invest in the third production market. But it


starts at home, and home in your case is the Assembly. Are you


saying you can't tell me whether the meat consumed there is Welsh?


The Assembly in Cardiff Bay is a very small element of what we are


about. But it is symbolic. Yes, but we were talking about milk last


summer, I tried to make the point that the total Welsh procurement is


not the answer to the issues facing the market. The issues facing the


markets are far more fundamental and wider. With respect, what we


need to do was unsure that the Welsh lamb producers is efficient -


- is ensure that Welsh lamb production is efficient. And that


the processing facilities ensure that their profit is derived for


every element of the food chain. With respect, I do have not answer


the question, can you give me and the people of Wales and assurance


that consuming Welsh products starts at home, that the Assembly


is consuming Welsh meat, Welsh produce? The Assembly is governed


by members, not the Government. so you can't give me that


assurance? It is not my gift to give. It is a tiny, tiny issue,


frankly, and it does not address the fundamental issues facing the


industry. You might be interested in Cardiff Bay, I am interested in


the rest of Wales. In the rest of Wales we have a tremendous food


production sector producing excellent products and produce, I


am concerned that my mother and other people's mothers elsewhere


come by that in their local supermarket, their local shops,


wherever they live. What many people watching tonight will want


is a guarantee about the quality of the food, they want to buy Welsh


food but at a price they can afford. What will you do to help? We can


provide that guarantee of assurance. One of the things you saw in that


report was the European issue which guarantees that Welsh lamb is


sourced in Wales and which meets a very significant quality threshold.


We can provide that guarantee. What I think we need to do, a real


challenge facing us, is to ensure that food is delivered to the


consumer at a fair price which the consumer can afford. Thank you. Now,


you might think that pantomime season is over.


Yes? Well, oh, no it isn't! According to the First Minister's


political opponents, anyway. In the week that the Welsh government said


it would like more powers to be devolved to Cardiff Bay, the Wales


Report has been asking are they - or us - ready for it? Opposition


politicians say they already have enough difficulty getting answers


to questions on existing policy areas, and Punch and Judy style


politics is getting in the way of real debate. David Williams has a


front-row seat for the biggest Richard Rogers, the eminent


architect, dismissed his critics and told me that what he had


creators was just a small house on the Bay. It was a modest


description of what was a very beautiful place with a very big


message to convey. That the home of Wales has New democracy was open


for business. It is a wonderful idea of this. A glass gallery from


which we can watch politicians at work. Democracy at its transparent


best. There is no hiding place in this bubble. Good for democracy,


but not so good when those who worked here start trading insults


with each other instead of engaging in serious debate. What discussions


have there been? Many. I am pleased to hear that. Thank you for your


There is increasing concern that while the Assembly building itself


has been something of a winner, those who inhabit it have not been


such a success with the public. First Minister's Question Time, a


weekly forum intended as a showcase of political debate, often


degenerates into petty squabbling. That is why I am here today. It was


a chance to meet those who defend the Labour government. This woman


is still fiercely defensive of the current First Minister and does not


share the view that First Minister's questions is an


important public dwindled to this place. Nobody watches of this.


they should. You have said this is a theatre. This is not as important


as what we are delivering on the ground. The important part of what


is going on here or art the Assembly members holding the


government to account? It takes two to tango. And the Conservative


member for the opposition is no pushover. You are acting like a


petulant child. Perhaps we should buy you a romper suit. A former it


turned politician, he knows a thing about herding animals. But the


human variety here confined him. He wants a review of Assembly


procedures in attempt to increase public engagement. I am a street


fighter at the end of the day. I did not vote for higher education


paid for by the state. My life was selling potatoes and farm produce.


Now I have a suit and a silk tie. I am prepared to have a fight if I


need to. I am also very came in to provide solutions to problems.


Their new leader on the block is Plaid Cymru's leader. She has


described First Minister's Question Time as... Are you insulted by it?


Some times, I do feel insulted on behalf of the New democracy we have


got here. People deserve to hear their ministers justifying their


policies. How can you and the Welsh public have any confidence in a


health minister the refuses to be straight with ours? For some reason,


Carwyn Jones seems at to single out the Liberal Democrat leader for


particular attention. We think very carefully about what questions we


are asking, about devolved issues, things that ministers should care


about and take action on. But he very rarely gives a straight answer.


He is more interested in trying to avoid giving an account of himself


and his government. Will you try again this afternoon? Yes, we will.


And here they come up for another round of First Minister's Question


Time. Another chance for the opposition to put the First


Minister and his deputies on the spot. To get a more intimate feel


of what it is really like, it is best to observe from the same level


on which they operate. Here, you can see it all and you begin to


wonder weather transparency is such a good thing. -- 1 De whether. If


they paid more attention, they might appreciate more what is going


on. I'd read, he is on a lead. think we are allowed to answer this.


It has been an interesting day at the Welsh Assembly. It is a


different place to the one that I remember, or is it? Was my view of


the place obscured by my need to look at it through the prism of


professional duty? Released from such responsibilities, I now see it


for what it is. But it is probably wise for me to keep my council and


my opinion to myself. It is easy enough. Take a peek through the


looking-glass. David Williams with his take on


what goes on at the Assembly. Well, joining me now is someone who has a


rather different opinion to David the Labour Assembly Member Vaughan


Gething. What do you make of that? It is a


pretty stilted view. In reality, First Minister's questions is an


opportunity for members to raise a host of issues. Is anybody any good


at it? Is that Chamber not just full of hot air? It has not


captured the public imagination of. I think it is very different to


Westminster. Their tradition and the set-up is completely different


to Prime Minister's questions. But some people are better at it than


others. Surely you have to acknowledge that the level of


debate is generally pure, the level of visibility is the generally poor.


-- generally poor. People are not being fired up by it. There is much


more to debate than First Minister's questions. There is a


lot of work done in committee room. Senior figures, of all political


persuasion, they are not engaging with the public enough, they are


not visible enough. People do not know who they are. I am always


happy to engage with the public. That might be true of you, but what


about the rest of them? I would not accept that this is about senior


figures are failing to engage. There is a wider problem of how


people communicate and engage with politicians. Is a problem not that


the politicians in the Assembly, you have got to get the message out


to the people of Wales and that is not happening. Communication is


very poor. There is more than one problem here. There is a problem in


the media... Is it our fault? people get their information from


other sources, unlike Scotland for example. Social media is different


now. When I was young, and there were only three or four channels,


people had to get the information through other channels. I'd be


engaging people in the Assembly is a longer term process. There is a


real problem in engaging the public in politics. I recognise I have a


duty to go up there and be proactive. And I think people in


all parties in the Assembly would accept that as well. It cannot be...


There is a big challenge for all of us. Just look at when the debate


happens on one particular section in the Assembly. Thank you. Now, as


we've been hearing, swapping insults, in a light-hearted way of


course, might be part of the cut and thrust of politics, but just


when does banter cross the line into bullying? In the sporting


world, pitch side participation is key in the enjoyment of sporting


events, but a recent survey by Sport Wales and the gay rights


group Stonewall Cymru showed that up to 75% of people taking part in


sport have heard homophobic banter. And revealingly in professional


sport in this country, there are only a handful of athletes who have


publicly said they are gay. Rugby referee Nigel Owens, the first


openly gay man to referee at international level returns to his


home club Pontyberem RFC to explain how he thinks homophobia in sport


Being an international referee can be a lonely job. The final word,


the authority figure and the butt of many a joke. But that is nothing


at all compared to the loneliness of concealing your own sexuality.


The human spirit goes through anguish to comply with the world's


prejudice. And the sporting world is behind the rest of society. It


is a deep-rooted problem. In a recent survey, 75% of people said


When I started my refereeing career, I knew that because of the


homophobia that existed in sport, I could either be gay or a


professional will be refereed. It was a difficult decision to make


there was difficult time of my life. So difficult that it drove me to


attempt to take my own life. I came out at the beginning of my


international career. Gareth Thomas kick-out awards at the end of his.


I hope that what we have both done is a tremendously important thing


that will show people the way forward. We have all long way to


goal but we have a responsibility. Homo phobia in sport is


unacceptable. We have to encourage gay, lesbian and bisexual people to


feel safe and be included what ever their chosen sport. The best way to


do that is to lead by example. We need role models at the top end of


the sport had to give a clear and positive message. Intolerance


towards gay people is not acceptable. Rugby has spoken.


Football, we are waiting for you. The international rugby referee


Nigel Owens there. Joining me now is Laura McAllistair, the chair of


Sport Wales. I'll be 20 years behind in the sporting world?


are much further behind on the issue of sexual orientation in


sport than we are on the race and disability. It is important that


the address of this agenda. There is still a lot of homophobia in


sport. It is not just about professional sport. It is about


sport in school and all the way up. Would it help if big name its


spores men came out? -- sports men. It is tremendously helpful if that


were to happen. How do we stop the name-calling from the terraces?


need better education amongst our school teachers to be aware of all


the issues that face children. We need our clubs and our governing


bodies to buy into this agenda. And they are starting to. We have


launched a lesbian, gay and bisexual network. People are taking


this seriously. They are taking this seriously and the


organisational level, but it is actually at they are so routes with


the message needs to get across. -- grassroots. Nigel Owens says it is


time for football to catch up. cannot force individuals to come


out and they would not wish to do that. It is good and proper that


there is a range of role models, but we need to look at the reasons


why football does not have high profile out gay footballers. That's


it for this week's programme. I'll be on Week In Week Out on Tuesday


investigating sham marriages and Huw Edwards will be back with the


Wales Report next week. You can get in touch with us about the issues


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