Abattoirs refused BSEcash byHogg
ABATTOIRS will get no government cash to assist with the cost of meeting anti-BSE measures for handling specified bovine offal, farm minister Douglas Hogg insisted at the show.
Meanwhile abattoir representatives moved to distance themselves from trade attempts to impose a £3.50 specified bovine offal disposal levy on beef producers.
Letter to member
NFU policy director Ian Gardiner told a FarmTech briefing that the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers would write a letter to all members dissociating itself from the action of some members.
Mr Gardiner said the move was the direct result of the NFUs complaint to the Office of Fair Trading over the trades concerted attempt to impose the levy. He added that the OFT had ordered the Federation to take action.
The NFU could see no reason for the levy, added Mr Gardiner. "The effect of these costs should be distributed across the meat market in accordance with normal forces."
Mr Hogg indicated that it might be necessary to tighten SBO regulations yet again. He agreed that bickering over the unilateral levy imposed by some operators was not helping the beef industrys public image. Court action could result, he said.
Several farmers at a FarmTech forum told the minister the beef industry was facing possible disaster over BSE, because the public did not feel properly protected, and was beginning to lose confidence in science itself.
National Cattle Breeders Association chairman Chris Lewis advocated paying the £3.50 levy as a short-term measure to allow everyone to get round the table and sort it out "for the long term."