The uncertainty over what an exit from the EU means for Europe’s meat industry has caused Moy Park to voice its “strong support” for continued EU membership.
The JBS-owned company, which claims to be the largest poultry producer in Northern Ireland, said remaining in the single market gives businesses more security about their future.
“We are a European business and Europe is our market – and we are strongly in favour of the UK remaining within the EU,” said Moy Park’s chief executive Janet McCollum in a statement on 15 June.
“Remaining in the EU gives businesses greater certainty about the future. Within the EU, we have open access to 27 markets and 500 million consumers. In the event of a Brexit, no one has been able to guarantee our continued access to those markets. Any move away from the free market in which we currently operate could increase tariffs, add administrative burdens and limit export opportunities.”
The UK votes on whether to remain in the EU on Thursday 23 June.
According to the latest TNS poll, the leave campaign now has an eight-point advantage over those calling for Britain to remain a member of the EU.
Moy Park is a big player in Europe’s poultry industry, with an estimated 35m chickens on the ground at any one time. It claims to be one of Europe’s biggest and leading agri-food businesses, employing 12,000 people in Northern Ireland, England, France, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
Loss of market access and a reduction in labour availability are two of the “compelling reasons” why Moy Park has come out in favour of the UK remaining the EU.
The potential impact on the farming community has been cited as another reason why the meat company wants the UK to remain in the EU. This point was recently backed up by a study from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, which concluded that Brexit may not be beneficial for UK farmers.
“The EU has imperfections, but it is a massive market which offers export security and it is our view that the UK should remain within it,” McCollum added.