NFU Scotland is assisting the Scottish Government with options
to address the immediate financial crisis facing Scotland’s
livestock sector as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak.
With the industry effectively shut down once again, except for
emergency movements of animals and journey to abattoirs, farmers
are facing massive welfare and financial problems. Against that
background, NFUS has highlighted five options for the Scottish
Government to explore to alleviate the crisis. They are:
- Allowing movements of animals from hill farms to
- Allowing stock that has been taken and sold at
markets on the Islands to move direct to farms on the mainland
- Introducing a welfare disposal scheme, with compensation, for lambs
whose market outlets are all closed
- Introducing a feed scheme
to assist producers who cannot move animals, have no grazing
left and no cashflow available
- Examining the use of existing
support schemes to deliver lifeline payments to farms. In particular
looking at options under the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme
(LFASS), the Single Farm Payment (SFP) scheme and the Beef Calf Scheme.
Regarding the lifting of Scottish domestic movement and export restrictions,
NFUS is stressing that, given it is only 48 hours since foot and mouth
re-emerged, the over-riding emphasis at the moment is on disease control.
Therefore, the immediate priority is protecting disease-free areas from
possible routes of infection, as far as possible. NFUS supports the division
of GB into separate areas, defined by disease risk. Scotland could be ‘classified’ as
one area and areas of England and Wales could make the same moves.
Currently, there are no cross-border movements of animals between England
and Scotland. The Scottish industry is collectively agreed that that
position must remain the same over the weekend. The situation should
then be reviewed on Monday, by which point there will be a further 72
hours of information of the nature of this new outbreak.
NFUS President Jim McLaren said:
“The impact of this outbreak is horrendous and we’ve had
farmers phoning us all day who are in a desperate situation. There are
masses of stock in the wrong place and that can’t move. Farms are
out of grazing and out of money, so the welfare and financial crisis
is getting worse by the hour. The Scottish Government completely appreciates
the scale of the problem and is committed to working with industry bodies
to try and provide some short-term relief.
“Every disease-free area needs to stay that way. Two days into
this outbreak, we still don’t know with any certainty where the
disease is. All the major stakeholders have agreed that, which such uncertainty
still in the air, that there shouldn’t be any movements of stock
from England into Scotland over the weekend. By Monday, we’ll know
more so can review that situation.”
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