Articles Environmental

Vegan Kerry McCarthy appointed shadow DEFRA minister

Kerry McCarthy MP

Kerry McCarthy has been appointed shadow minister for the department of environment, food and rural affairs. Kerry has been a Labour M.P. Since 2005 when she was elected for the seat of Bristol East.

Kerry studied Russian, politics and linguistics before becoming a qualified solicitor. Kerry has held various posts including being a member of the influential treasury select committee, and shadow foreign office minister in 2011. Her areas of interest include the economy, tackling poverty, international aide and trade, transport and crime/justice.

Kerry is currently Vice President of the league of cruel sports and a patron of the vegan society. Kerry has been a vegan for 20 years and a vegetarian for 10 years before that.

In a statement recently she indicated that she was delighted with the new appointment and indicated her long standing interest in the area. Kerry had been co chair of the all parliamentary agro-ecology group for sustainable food and farming, chair of the all party food waste group (she has recently introduced a bill to parliament to help reduce food waste). Kerry will be stepping down from these roles to concentrate on her shadow DEFRA appointment.

Kerry believes that food and farming are hugely important areas of public policy, and she believes that we need to be tackling multiple issues including prevalence of low pay in the sector, difficulties farmers faces trying to make a living, decline in bio diversity and wildlife, land management and flooding, the need for long term food security, reducing the green house gas footprint for agriculture, fisheries policy, public health issues related to poor diet and rising food poverty.

Kerry is very clear that her personal views as a vegan will not effect labour policy in relation to the farming industry, although she will push for the highest of animal welfare standards to be introduced. Kerry is keen to develop policies that move away from intensive, highly industrialised farming to more sustainable practices. Animal welfare will continue to be important and Kerry will oppose any moves by the government to re introduce fox hunting.

Fresh faces bring fresh ideas, personally I am encouraged to see that someone with such a track record that Kerry has had in different government positions has been appointed to this role. Kerry clearly has the interests of constituents in her rural seat as a priority but it is also clear that her interest in food, farming, agriculture and fishing and her personal views will positively influence policy over the next few years.