With the crisis affecting Scotland’s livestock sector
deepening by the day, NFU Scotland has set out the latest developments
as discussions with the Scottish Government and vets continue.
Movement restrictions – NFUS is pressing,
as a top priority, for a relaxation to allow movements of animals
within a farm for management reasons and between different farms. The
latter would allow sheep to be moved to new grazing areas.
Emergency measures – Measures to address
the financial crisis on farms and the looming welfare disaster
were discussed with the Scottish Government at the stakeholder
meeting yesterday and will be again today. NFUS has this
morning issued a survey of its members to identify the exact
requirements of a welfare disposal scheme, as talks continue
with Government on the detail.
Regionalisation for exports – The Scottish
Government, together with other GB administrations and in line
with advice from the European Commission, is currently working
at classifying GB into different areas of according to disease
risk. Until this is done, farming bodies have reiterated
their request for abattoirs not to bring English stock into Scotland. Once
the classification is complete, it will be clearer how GB could
be divided in terms of the future relaxation of export controls
and the implications that would have for the movement of live
animals and processing of meat across GB.
Drivers’ hours – The anger at
the UK Government’s dismissive approach to the Scottish
haulage problems remains. NFUS continues to appeal for
common sense from London.
**Biosecurity warning - NFUS is reminding
all its members of the critical importance of biosecurity and
adhering to all conditions associated with the current movement
licences. Any breaches will jeopardise the existing relaxations
available and delay the future unwinding of restrictions.
NFUS President Jim McLaren said:
“The calls we are receiving into our offices around the
country are becoming increasingly desperate. We estimate
there will be at least a million lambs on the hills that shouldn’t
be there. That is generating a huge welfare crisis. Grazing
is running out and the prospects of there being enough nutrition
available for ewes over the Winter are horrendous. We’re
continuing to work on the details of schemes to alleviate the welfare
problems and address the cashflow nightmare across the country.
“Obviously getting movements going is the best thing that
can happen as it would ease the pressure on grazing and could generate
“The confirmation of the fifth case in Surrey doesn’t
change much because the infected farm is in the protection zone. But
it is a reminder once again of the need for biosecurity. We
are urgently pressing for a relaxation for movements within and between
farms as the next top priority. But frankly, government and
vets need confidence that farmers are adhering strictly to every
licence condition already set out if we are to keep the current relaxations
and secure more. I would ask every farmer in the country to
keep that in mind.”
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