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Stackyard News Feb 08

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NFUS Delivers Foot and Mouth Petition to Downing Street

NFU Scotland will this afternoon be delivering a petition to the door of number 10 Downing Street calling for full compensation for all those in rural Scotland affected by last year's foot and mouth outbreak.



The outbreak, which originated from the government-controlled laboratory at Pirbright, Surrey, led to a financial crisis in Scotland's red meat sector and associated industries, the effects of which are still being felt.

The Scottish Government stepped in to provide crucial emergency aid of around £25 million, however this represented just a fraction of the losses suffered by farmers, hauliers, auctioneers, processors and other rural businesses.

Speaking from London, NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson said:

“The Scottish livestock industry was shut down for two months at the most critical time of year, the autumn sales. It has cost businesses across rural Scotland tens of millions of pounds and, particularly given the source of this outbreak in 2007, we believe there is a clear duty on the UK Government to compensate.

“The containment of the disease was extremely successful because industry complied with crippling movement restrictions and, in doing so, saved the taxpayer the billions of pounds spent during the 2001 outbreak. Successful disease control relies on a partnership between industry and government. Industry has done its bit yet many in rural Scotland feel the UK Government has walked away from its responsibilities. Not only has that had a huge financial impact, but it jeopardises the partnership required in future.

“The Scottish Government stepped in with a hugely important emergency aid package. However this represents just a fraction of the losses faced by farmers and the other businesses that work with them.

“The petition has been signed by thousands of those affected by the horrendous fall-out from the biosecurity lapses at Pirbright last summer. This is not just an NFUS petition, it is one on behalf of the whole of rural Scotland sending a resounding message to the Prime Minister of what needs to be done.”

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