Farmers Ready to Take Their Frustrations to the Streets

UK - Tens of thousands of farmers could take to the streets this week in Edinburgh, Cardiff and London unless the UK government takes a more proportionate approach to the handling of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey.
calendar icon 9 October 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
To date there have been only eight confirmed cases and the likelihood of further incidences is fading with each passing day. But the livestock industry throughout much of the UK is grinding to a standstill as a result of movement restrictions.

If a farmer moves any livestock on or off his holding, he is then subject to a 20-day ban on trading apart from the transfer of bulls or rams.

Livestock markets resumed trading in store and breeding animals at the end of last week, but with very mixed results, according to Jim McLaren, president of NFU Scotland.

McLaren said: "We have had reliable reports of animals being taken to markets and then being simply abandoned because there were no buyers. Those who intended to sell simply could not take the chance of taking these sheep and cattle home again and locking up their farms for the better part of three weeks. The same holds true for buyers."

McLaren recounted the experience of farmers with breeding sheep to sell: "They were bid around £34 per head, which is half of what the same animals would have been worth 12 months ago, but the auction company eventually found buyers at just £18 for those sheep.

McLaren stressed: "If not the removal of the 20-day rule, we need an immediate announcement of when we can anticipate some relaxation, preferably involving separation of incoming stock. We are close to meltdown and some guys out there will just walk away unless they have some guidance on how they can proceed.

"This is the harvest season for livestock farmers, but many are running out of money, grass and patience."

Source: Scotsman
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