In this Section, I examine the Government's role in more detail:-
An overview of the
operations of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural
The Aims and Objectives
of the Department
The way the Aims and
Objectives are presented within the Departmental Report
The various roles
played by these Aims and Objectives
Details of the sources and documentatiion I have used in this study
can be examined
An overview of the operations of DEFRA
To give an idea of the extent of the current operations of the
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I have included
a copy of their home page for September
2003. The current home page can be accessed at http://www.defra.gov.uk/
Some features of the 2003 page are:-
- The site has main menus ranging from Animal Health & Welfare
to Water; Wildlife & Countryside.
- There is a Departmental 'slogan' on the website:- "DEFRA
works for the essentials of life - food, air, land, water, people,
animals and plants".
- There is a "weekly focus" section on the front page,
ranging from GM Issues to the UN International year for Freshwater
- There is the latest news (press releases ?), ranging from agricultural
gangmasters to sustainable food and catering services
- And then there is a 'quick links' section, which includes the
pet travel scheme, horse passports, and sudden oak death.
These details drawn from the website give a brief overview of the
'front page' concerns of DEFRA, and of the wide range of issues
they deal with.
When we turn to the books listed on
the sources page, we can also get an impression of the depth
and accuracy of the statistics contained in them. To give an example
(MAFF, 2000, p. 46-7), the average UK pig population was 7,616,000
in 1989-91, which rose to 8,146,0000 in 1998, but fell to a provisional
figure of 6,482,000 in 2000. This is subdivided into numbers of
sows and other pigs, the average dressed carcass weights, imports
and exports of pork, bacon and ham, value of production, and so
on. However, no attempt is made to interpret or explain the fluctuations
in the figures.
Overall, we have a picture of an amazingly wide remit for this
Department, and a considerable level of detail in the statistics
they produce, ranging from details such as horse passports and the
protection of a Scottish coral reef, to global issues such as GM
This gives an idea of "what the Government does", but
raises more questions, such as "why are they doing this, and
what is their role ?"
Perhaps by looking at "what are they trying to achieve ?",
we can answer these other questions.
While the main focus of this study is food, the Government itself
is a secondary focus, and I have reviewed the Context
of the Government and the Government
Discourses in later parts of the analysis.