First Meat Exports from 12 October, But Strings Attached

UK - Scotland’s farming union has welcomed with relief the news that some fresh meat exports to Europe can begin again from Great Britain from 12 October. The decision is reliant on there being no cases of foot and mouth disease outwith a 200km zone around the current outbreak. There are also some strings attached to the lifting of the export ban.
calendar icon 4 October 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
EU veterinary experts have agreed today that the whole of Great Britain will maintain its current risk status, however the export of fresh beef and sheep meat could be allowed to resume from all areas of Great Britain, except for a 200 km zone around the current surveillance zone in the South-East of England, from 12 October. The following conditions also apply:
  • Animals slaughtered for the export market must have been resident on their farm for 30 days;
  • For 21 days prior to these animals being moved, no new susceptible animals can have come onto the same holding.
  • At abattoirs, animals must be killed immediately, with pre and post-slaughter inspections for foot and mouth.
  • Meat would have to be quarantined for 24 hours and could only be dispatched if there was no suspicion of disease on the farm of origin.
NFUS Vice President Nigel Miller said:

“This decision is more than we expected and hats off to Government for securing a qualified return to the export market.

“The effect of the export ban in the sheep, dairy and pigs sectors in particular has been horrendous, leading to major welfare problems. Whilst the lifting of the export ban at the end of next week is a small step back to normality for the sheep industry, it will not remove the need for the welfare scheme for light lambs, which we are determined will open shortly. We are now getting reports of lambs dying where they are, so the welfare scheme is needed immediately.

“Strangely this Commission announcement makes no mention of pigmeat exports and we must explore that further. There is a growing crisis with breeding sows that have reached the end of their productive lives but which are stuck on farm and creating a welfare problem. Even if they did start moving to Europe, an urgent welfare scheme would be required to address the backlog.

“Dairy bull calves remain excluded from their markets because this decision only applies to meat and not the export of live animals. That is costing dairy farmers dear and is just one cost the UK Government must compensate for.

“The export ban costs Scotland a million pounds a week, so this is a much needed first move from Brussels today.”

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