Foot-And-Mouth Damage On Course To Surpass 2001

SURREY - The current outbreak of foot-and-mouth looks set to cost Scottish farmers more than the last one in 2001.
calendar icon 18 September 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

That is because the restrictions on the movement of animals and the ban on exports in this outbreak have been imposed in the autumn, when hill farmers traditionally sell the bulk of their cattle and sheep.

With large numbers of animals trapped on hill farms and eating the winter grazing vital for the survival of breeding ewes, farmers are becoming increasingly alarmed.

Apart from the developing welfare crisis, there is also a major cash-flow problem caused by the lack of sales. That could be the last straw for many, because when sales do resume, there is every chance that the backlog of lambs will create a glut on the market and depress prices. Compounding that problem is the very real possibility that exports are unlikely to resume for three months.

Against that worrying backdrop, NFU Scotland is right to call for an urgent relaxation in Scotland to allow lambs and older "draft ewes" to be moved off the hills to farms on lower ground. More significantly, its call for a voluntary welfare cull scheme for small hill lambs is also correct.

Source: TheHerald
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