An Anglesey councillor has described a decision by MPs to vote down the protection of UK farmers from low-standard food imports, as akin to “stabbing a pitchfork into their backs”.

The amendment to the current Agriculture bill would have meant that food could only be imported if the standards under which it was produced “were as high as, or higher than, standards which at the time of import applied under UK law”.

But Tory MP Neil Parish’s amendment was lost by 328 votes to 277 votes last week after failing to receive the support of the Conservative government.

Among those who voted against the amendment was Ynys Mon MP Virginia Crosbie, whose decision has been attacked by local county councillor, Carwyn Jones.

Cllr Jones, described the rejection of such legislation as “gut wrenching,” and would have guaranteed a ban on US hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken as well as and livestock reared to lower animal welfare standards  from entering the UK.

“At 24%, agriculture represents by far the largest business sector on Anglesey, far outweighing that of most other counties across Wales and the UK as a whole,” said Cllr Jones.

“At the end of the day we know this is about cheap imports and trade deals.  I’ve had one farmer turn to me following this decision no to support the Anglesey farmers with this legislation and say, why on earth do we bother, is there a point in carrying on?

“Our farmers work around the clock and adhere to the highest standards and produce to help feed the nation with the best quality produce.

“Instead of thanking and supporting the farmers by voting against this legislation, a pitchfork has been stuck into their back by MPs.”

Both the NFU and FUW have expressed their “disappointment” with the result of the vote.

But Virginia Crosbie told  the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she had listened to farming unions and had spoken directly with the Secretary of State for International Trade, who is leading negotiation with the USA.

“Had the amendments passed, they would have undermined the trade deals we currently have in place and sought to undermine our ability to reach a trade deal with the European Union – our biggest and most important market,” she said.

“This amendment would not have succeeded in preventing substandard imports from coming into this country – in fact, it only would have succeeded in tightening tightened existing markets.

“The way to make sure that our standards are not threatened by cheap imports is to build specific protection for our products into each and every trade deal we strike – most crucially with the USA.

“I continue to champion Welsh farming and produce, and in any future trade deals I will not accept the lowering of food standards under any circumstance. I am proud of UK’s high animal welfare standards.”

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, added that the UK

remains “firmly committed” to “driving a hard bargain” in any future trade deals.

“We can create wider opportunities for businesses locked out of the largest consumer market on the planet including Welsh producers of lamb, which is why the National Sheep Association has welcomed this deal,” she added.

“Virginia has been committed to the farming community and ensuring there are opportunities for Welsh produce in future trade deals, and I know that she will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure this is the case.”