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Stackyard News Sep 08

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    Livestock Key to Hills and Uplands States Report

The latest report into Scotland’s hills and uplands has recognised the critical role that active livestock farming plays in delivering social, economic and environmental benefits into more remote parts of Scotland.


hill sheep

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) had undertaken an independent Inquiry into the future of Scotland’s hill and island areas. The inquiry was charged with finding ways to help secure a prosperous and environmentally sustainable future for these economically fragile communities.

Crucially the report recognises that the continuing decline in hill and island agriculture has implications for biodiversity, landscape management and food security. Arresting that decline was the key theme of NFU Scotland’s Manifesto for the Hills launched last week. Similarly, a SAC report published in August had highlighted that sheep numbers in Scotland had declined by almost one quarter in a decade and that cow numbers were down 10 percent in the same period.

Speaking after the launch of the RSE report, NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren said:

“The issues surrounding the ongoing removal of livestock from Scotland’s hills and uplands have now been laid out in black and white in reports generated by several influential groups in Scotland. Proposed solutions may vary but now is the time to nail them down.

“We believe that retaining livestock on the hills and uplands is the key to delivering the social, economic and environmental benefits which the RSE report rightly highlights. Farming in these parts merits continued public support but we need that support to be better targeted.

“The responsibility for delivering the policy solutions lies at the door of Scottish Government and action needs to be taken now. The time is right for Scottish Government to pull together all interested bodies and agree the way forward. The importance of livestock production to Scotland merits decisive action. A clear signal must be sent to those who eke out a living in remote parts that active livestock farming is wanted and valued.”

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