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Cost Of The Bluetongue Trap

12 October 2007

UK - With thousands of slaughter cattle ‘trapped’ east of the Bluetonque demarcation line, supplies to supermarkets could be affected and store cattle sales could be hit by the absence of some of the biggest buyers in the country
It is estimated up to 8,000 cattle are finished each week within the BT control zone but slaughter capacity is less than half that figure although the unconfirmed extension of the protection zone on Wednesday was set to bring in a couple more abattoirs.

“We have specialist plants outside the BT area which are running at just 25 per cent capacity because so many of the cattle they need are on the wrong side of the line,” said Association of Independent Meat Suppliers policy director Norman Bagley on Tuesday.

“In contrast the ability to process cattle inside the current zone may be limited to not much more than 2,500 head a week,”

Feeders were dismayed when Defra said the current control and protection zones would remain in place until the end of summer 2008 ‘at the earliest’.

“It would kill our business off completely if we had to wait a minimum of 15-18 months just to clear the cattle already on our premises,” said Mark Stroud of Marsh Farm, Banbury, who feeds over 5,000 cattle a year.

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Source: Farmers Guardian


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