THE BBC's flagship Panorama TV programme, often under attack from politicians for alleged political bias, has received hearty praise from an unexpected quarter - the National Farmers' Union.
Last week, the programme exposed some of the cruel and devious practices of Dutch poultry farmers, who export huge quantities of poultry to Britain - much of it reared under conditions banned here.
The NFU has long campaigned against the import of foreign meat and poultry which can undercut British prices because farmers in many EU countries do not face the stiff ethical codes of practice enforced in the UK. Some years ago, the union introduced its "little red tractor" logo to prove that food on supermarket shelves is British grown.
Praising the Panorama expose, NFU poultry chairman Charles Bournes says shoppers can be assured that fresh chicken sporting the tractor logo sold in supermarkets has not been subjected to the unethical practices highlighted.
He added: "The Little Red Tractor represents food that has been produced under farm assurance schemes to independently verified standards of food hygiene and animal welfare and with regard to the environment.
"British farmers welcome Panorama's report which underlined the suspicions they have held for some time. We want to see an end to these distasteful practices."