Foot and Mouth Outbreak 'costing farms £10m a day'

UK - The farming industry is losing almost £10 million every day under the restrictions imposed due to the fresh foot-and-mouth outbreak, the National Farmers Union has said.
calendar icon 15 September 2007
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NFU chief economist Carmen Suarez estimates £2 million is now being lost in terms of exports alone, up from an estimate of £1.8 million earlier this week.

This figure is set to grow if the restrictions on livestock movements continue - and are compounded by the millions being lost because abattoirs and markets are also closed.

Ms Suarez puts the figure lost due to the inability to take animals to slaughter at £6 million a day and the amount lost from markets being shut at £1.5 million.

The costs of the ban on exporting meat is now estimated at £2 million a day and will rise if the restrictions continue as they are into next month, she said.

"It is costing £2 million now and it will only be getting worse as we get into October."

"That includes sheep, pigs and cattle being traded - both live animals and meat - and other products such as their skins."

Sheep farmers in particular would be hard hit next month when production and trade would normally reach an even higher level because a third of their production usually goes into exports.

Beef exports would usually take up 10% of production, while pig exports would account for around 18%, the economist explained.

The second element, which is said to be costing farming a huge £6 million a day, is the inability of farmers to take their animals to abattoirs for slaughter. This is currently restricted in England, but permitted under licence in Scotland and Wales after the rules were relaxed to ease the effects of the outbreak.
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