Farmers Weekly’s livestock editor Jonathan Long has taken part in a studio debate on Radio Five Live yesterday evening.
Appearing on Anita Anand’s late-night show, Jonathan reinforced how important it was for the industry to abide by the regulations the government has put in place.
“We must ensure we protect our reputation as quality producers and to do that we must obey the rules,” he said. “We’re definitely a major step forward. The key thing is to get British livestock back onto supermarket shelves.”
Commenting on vaccination in the future, he explained: “Europe will not take exports from us once we start vaccination. It’s not an option as a long-term strategy.”
Mr Long vociferously defended British farmers in a lively exchange with The Times’ Stephen Pollock who argued against tax payers funding compensation for farmers and that they should cover themselves through insurance.
“This outbreak is not farmers’ fault. We cannot get insurance for payout in the event of culling for foot and mouth. European farmers are compensated by their governments as well.”
But Mr Pollock said: “If government didn’t step in to compensate, there would be a market for insurance.”
And he continued: “No-one is forced to be a farmer. We’ve got ourselves into a preposterous mess across Europe with the way we supply ourselves with food. What we need is perfectly straightforward market in the supply of agriculture which is if you can make it pay, you get it.”
But Mr Long challenged: “Do you like the British countryside as it is at the moment?”
“I have no feelings about the British countryside,” Mr Pollock retorted.
You can listen to the debate on Anita Anand’s page on BBC Five Live’s website. Click on “Weds” and then scroll through to 7 minutes 40 seconds.