I would like to reassure you that Ministers are fully committed to tackling the environmental drivers of pandemics, including by reversing global biodiversity loss, tackling unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade, and driving up standards in food production and food safety around the world. I am pleased that Ministers will continue to support swift policy interventions where these are shown to be effective in mitigating future risk of zoonotic diseases and are underpinned by sound evidence
The Government recognises that markets selling live animals and meat are a high risk environment for the transmission of zoonotic diseases if they are not subject to high standards of biosecurity and hygiene. I therefore agree with the World Health Organization that markets should close if these standards are not met.
Finally, while food choices can have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, well managed livestock can also provide environmental benefits such as supporting biodiversity, protecting the character of the countryside and generating important income for rural communities. I would like to reassure you that the Government is committed to the highest possible agricultural standards and in spearheading the National Food Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan, is working hard to promote sustainable food production. The Agriculture Bill, for example, will financially reward farmers for enhancing their practices, animal welfare and environmental standards.