Scots Press Brussels For Early End To Export Ban

SCOTLAND - Despite the general winding down of the foot-and-mouth panic, which has revolved around a handful of farms in Surrey, exports of beef and lamb from Scotland are unlikely to resume for several weeks.
calendar icon 9 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

EU regulations make it quite clear that even one incidence of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) precludes an inter-EU trade for at least 90 days subsequent to closure on the last outbreak.

However, the Scottish case for regionalisation was pressed strongly in Brussels late yesterday at a meeting of the EU's standing committee on food and animal health. The re- opening of the export market could be worth as much as £50 million to Scottish farmers.

No firm conclusion was reached, but that came as no surprise to Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet secretary with responsibilities for agriculture and the environment. Speaking to The Scotsman from Elgin, where he was visiting a local butcher's shop, he said: "This is going to take time, but I have been in close touch with all my ministerial colleagues throughout the UK and we think that together we have a very strong case for an easing of the ban on exports, but we have to work together to achieve the appropriate solution."

Jim McLaren, speaking to the press on his second telephone conference in just two days, was equally circumspect. He said: "I do not think that much will happen before another meting of this committee on 23 August, but we have made our point.

"Having Scotland as the only regional zone that could export sheep is not our ideal solution, especially given that a huge number of lambs from north of the Border are processed in either England or Wales. What we all want is to see as much as possible of Great Britain allowed to be free from disease controls and able to export. We shall have to be patient, but I remain hopeful that this can be achieved, always provided FMD is controlled and confined to a very small area."

Source: Scotsman
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