Shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert criticised the organisation for using taxpayers’ money to send animal health experts on team-building days, which included lessons in African drumming. Mr Herbert said: “It is incredible that when farming faces serious animal health challenges, the Government thinks it’s necessary to teach its vets how to play bongo drums. It is these useless DEFRA ministers who need their heads banging together to stop wasting public money.”

On 16 March, it also emerged that DEFRA is unaware of how many acres of farmland there are in England. Speaking in the House of Commons, Huw Irranca-Davies, minister for the natural and marine environment, wildlife and rural affairs, overestimated the amount of England’s farmland by 11.6million acres.
Shadow farm minister Jim Paice said: “It is astonishing that ministers should think there is more agricultural land in England than there is actual land in the entire country.”

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