In the companion
Food Site, I examine the Government's role in more detail:-
overview of the operations of the Department of the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (below)
and Objectives of the Department
the Aims and Objectives are presented within the Departmental
roles played by these Aims and Objectives
Details of the sources and documentatiion I have used in this study
can be examined there
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 include
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 publications, we can also get an impression of
the depth and accuracy of the statistics contained in them. To give
an example (MAFF Departmental Report, 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.
In the food study, I select a key Government document for further
analysis using the discourse toolbox