EBLEX has called on all supply chains to consider carefully the
implications of the latest census figures, which reveal further
declines in the number of breeding cattle and sheep in England.
Defra's provisional figures show that the total cattle breeding
herd has fallen by 1.6 per cent over the last year and that numbers
of female beef cattle under one year of age has fallen by 4.5 per
cent. The census also shows that the English sheep breeding flock
has contracted by 5.3 per cent over the same period.
Commenting on the results, John Cross EBLEX Chairman said: "These
figures, which do not reflect the impact of the recent increases
in feed prices nor the immense problems our industry faces resulting
from the current Foot and Mouth outbreak, emphasise that the market
has not yet recognised that England's cattle and sheep farmers
no longer receive subsidies to produce quality livestock.
"I call on all supply chains to talk to their producers as
a matter of some urgency and establish what they can do to develop
commercial partnerships where every link in our food chain is rewarded
for producing quality beef and lamb.
"EBLEX is already working hard to play our part in building
those sustainable relationships through our business improvement
and marketing activities, but we need every part of the supply
chain to fully commit to supporting our vision for a profitable,
sustainable industry. After all, it is only profitable industries
which can satisfy consumers' preferences for quality beef and lamb
produced in the countryside they want to see."
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