16 May 2001
20-day stock move ban to cost millions

By Robert Harris

BANNING the movement of livestock for 20 days after they have been sold at auction will cost the beef and sheep industry dear, claims a new report.

The 20-day rule could cost 16.5 million a year and jeopardise 1000 jobs in Scotland alone, says the study by the Scottish Agriculture College (SAC).

The report was commissioned by auctioneer ANM after the government proposed the 20-day rule to reduce the risk of diseases like foot-and-mouth.

Peter Cook, head of the SAC rural business unit, believes the move could cost a typical upland farm with 220 cows and 750 ewes a total of 5370 a year.

“Cow and ewe numbers could fall by 25%, a total of 40,000 cows and 370,000 ewes, as extra costs force some producers out of business.”

Changing trade patterns could damage the nature of the cattle and sheep industry, which is concentrated in the few autumn and spring months.

The 20-day rule could also cause problems with extensification premium, taking a further 8000 from a typical farms bottom line, said Mr Cook.

Brian Pack, ANM chief executive, said the report highlighted the impracticality of the proposed 20-day movement restriction.

“It will bring our livestock industry to its knees and ensure that we export even more of our production industry to mainland Europe,” he said.

“I would urge all livestock producers to make their voices heard during the run-up to the election and make sure this proposal is scrapped.”

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