Sir, – As a supporter of UK agriculture and the Farmers who strive to look after our rural ecosystems and produce some of the highest quality, sustainable food in the world, I was angered to read the drivel that was published from the correspondent last week in opposition of a poultry site that Aviagen plan to build in Murthly, Perthshire.

A simple search of Aviagen’s website and their business interest’s highlight they want to 'play a leading role in feeding future generations by providing quality broiler breeding stock to produce a healthy and sustainable source of protein'.

This is an admirable statement and one that it expands on further. It puts its success down to 'balanced selection program that consistently promotes simultaneous improvements in health, production, environmental impact, reproduction, robustness, food security, health and welfare, and sustainability.'

As a nation, the UK is only 64% self-sufficient and this has been relatively stagnant for a number of years (Fig 1). What does this mean for the UK consumer? In 2020, if we had relied solely on home-grown food (no avocados, no soya milk, no Danish bacon or New Zealand lamb) then we would have run out of food on August 21. That is one to ponder for a bit.

Covid has highlighted the need for our agri-food sector to be more resilient. In 2017, we ranked in the top 5% of nations in terms of food affordability, availability, safety and security. In 2020 we have dropped down to being in the top 15%.

We need to work hard to protect our vulnerability as a nation to ensure we can stand up to the challenge of global shocks when they arise.

According to Sustain ( there are an estimated 8.4m people in the UK who struggle to get enough to eat. In 2019-20, the Trussell Trust provided 1.9m packages of emergency food supplies. Compare this figure to 2009, when the number was 41,000 packages.

Instead of sitting up on a high horse declaring that the well to do people of Murthly believe it is their right to deny affordable, sustainable and ethically produced protein for the UK, why not get behind this development and support the fact that this business actually sees a future in Scotland, or indeed the UK as we push ourselves further away from friends and allies in Europe.

The statement about not being under ‘SEPA control’ is nonsense. The poultry industry is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in agriculture and regardless of how much litter is produced they and everyone else still have to follow all of the relevant legislation with regard to nutrient management and pollution.

It is time for us all to support UK farmers. The agricultural sector did not collapse during the Covid lock-down. The men, women and families worked non-stop to ensure that the food chain continued, whether that was meeting the needs of the animals under their care, or planting and harvesting crops.

From us all: Thank you.

Name and address supplied

(A rural dweller who also suffers from sanctimonious neighbours.)