Meat Export Restrictions Finally Lifted For Most of GB

UK - The lifting of meat export restrictions for most of GB, agreed a fortnight ago by Brussels vets, has now come into force. The European Commission confirmed the implementation this afternoon.
calendar icon 20 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The most significant part of the decision for Scottish farmers is the lifting of the 21-day standstill, which prevented farmers sending animals to slaughter for the export market if they had brought other live animals on to the farm in the preceding three weeks. Given all the sales currently underway, this has posed a major hurdle to farmers looking to export animals.

The decision implemented today splits Great Britain into three areas:

  1. No Export Area – this is area immediately around Pirbright from which no animals are eligible for the export market
  2. Restricted Export Area – this is the wider area in the South East of England from which animals can go for slaughter but only under certain conditions
  3. Free Export Area – this is Scotland and the rest of GB from which animals can go for export without conditions.

The export of live animals remains banned, with little prospect of a lifting until Great Britain is declared free of foot and mouth by the world animal health body – the OIE – around the turn of the year. Live imports, however, are now allowed.

NFUS Vice President Nigel Miller said:

“This has taken a long time to come about and it is frustrating that it has taken a fortnight to turn the decision by the EU veterinary committee into a reality. This move will help the sheep market and I’d expect to see a boost to prices on cattle with the Continental market for older cattle now easier to access.

“The 21-day standstill has been a real nightmare and the previous export decision has not helped a massive number of people. We have been trying to catch up with livestock sales, which were all delayed due to the movement restrictions. Therefore farmers have been needing to bring new animals on to farm, but, until today, finding it has landed them with a three-week ban on sending animals for the export market.

“We are going to keep working on getting live exports back. The complete loss of the market for dairy bull calves in particular has been a real blow and it has also hit those looking to export breeding animals. We have been told we are unlikely to see live exports until the turn of the year when GB regains its global FMD-free status. But we’ll be pushing for an earlier start than that.

“In the meantime, our fight for proper UK Government compensation for the disaster of the last four months continues and we have still to see some of the major supermarkets live up to their responsibilities.”

TheCattleSite News Desk
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