NFU Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to recognise
the unprecedented anger and frustration currently being experienced
by Scottish livestock farmers as a result of the fall out from
foot and mouth and either deliver further relaxations immediately
or explain why they cannot be granted.
The combination of the restrictions currently in place, the previous
shutdown forced by the FMD cases in August and a lack of information
on when further relaxation will be delivered is starting to cause
human health as well as animal health problems.
The most recent movement relaxation came into effect last weekend.
With eight days now passed since the disease re-emerged – a
full incubation period of this strain of FMD – the Union
has called for a number of immediate relaxations.
Critically, the Union has also called for a clear outline of the
future lifting of controls so farmers can have some idea of how
progress out of the current situation will be made and to relieve
the serious crisis that now exists on many farms.
NFUS President Jim McLaren said:
“Very little has moved on this week in terms of the crippling
restrictions on farms. Our members’ anger, frustration and
stress is unprecedented. As an example, they simply don’t
understand why they can’t be allowed to move an animal from
one field to another as this would appear to present minimal risk.
We simply must have movements within farm businesses today or a
clear explanation as to why Ministers and vets can’t allow
“I fully understand that everything must be done on a precautionary
basis, particularly whilst we are under EU scrutiny, but in the
absence of a timetable or any light at the end of the tunnel, nobody
can plan ahead or see any way out of the desperate situation in
which they find themselves. That is one of the most damaging aspects
of this crisis. We must understand where crucial movements like
those between different farms and those to auctions and markets
fit into the risk assessment.
“We understand why there is a reluctance to give out dates
for future relaxations because the disease situation can change
so quickly. We therefore need immediate relaxations or an explanation
from the government as to exactly what the current disease situation
is that prevents this.
“I have spoken to the Chief Vet and Cabinet Secretary again
today to convey the sense of desperation and frustration on farm.
A lack of information feeds these symptoms.”
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