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Pressure On Livestock Farmers Intolerable

by 5m Editor
20 September 2007, at 12:24pm

UK - NFU Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to recognise the unprecedented anger and frustration currently being experienced by Scottish livestock farmers as a result of the fall out from foot and mouth and either deliver further relaxations immediately or explain why they cannot be granted.

The combination of the restrictions currently in place, the previous shutdown forced by the FMD cases in August and a lack of information on when further relaxation will be delivered is starting to cause human health as well as animal health problems.

The most recent movement relaxation came into effect last weekend. With eight days now passed since the disease re-emerged – a full incubation period of this strain of FMD – the Union has called for a number of immediate relaxations.

Critically, the Union has also called for a clear outline of the future lifting of controls so farmers can have some idea of how progress out of the current situation will be made and to relieve the serious crisis that now exists on many farms.

NFUS President Jim McLaren said:

“Very little has moved on this week in terms of the crippling restrictions on farms. Our members’ anger, frustration and stress is unprecedented. As an example, they simply don’t understand why they can’t be allowed to move an animal from one field to another as this would appear to present minimal risk. We simply must have movements within farm businesses today or a clear explanation as to why Ministers and vets can’t allow that.

“I fully understand that everything must be done on a precautionary basis, particularly whilst we are under EU scrutiny, but in the absence of a timetable or any light at the end of the tunnel, nobody can plan ahead or see any way out of the desperate situation in which they find themselves. That is one of the most damaging aspects of this crisis. We must understand where crucial movements like those between different farms and those to auctions and markets fit into the risk assessment.

“We understand why there is a reluctance to give out dates for future relaxations because the disease situation can change so quickly. We therefore need immediate relaxations or an explanation from the government as to exactly what the current disease situation is that prevents this.

“I have spoken to the Chief Vet and Cabinet Secretary again today to convey the sense of desperation and frustration on farm. A lack of information feeds these symptoms.”

5m Editor