23 October 1998

Ban threat for haulier

ONE of the countrys biggest livestock hauliers could be banned from exporting live sheep after being found guilty of mistreating animals.

Junior farm minister Elliot Morley this week took the first step towards revoking the export licence of Yorkshire-based firm F Machin and Son.

The company was recently found guilty of breaching animal welfare regulations and fined £10,000 by Northallerton magistrates (News, Oct 16).

Mr Morley informed director Richard Machin that MAFF intends to ban the company from further involvement in the live export trade. Mr Machin has been asked for his comments before ministers decide how long his disqualification should last.

"This decision reflects the governments view that breaches of animal welfare requirements are an important matter and that the strictest sanctions available under the law should be applied when this is justified," Mr Morley told FARMERS WEEKLY.

Mr Machin exports about 100,000 sheep a year, making him the biggest customer of Farmers Ferry, the producer owned shipping company which aims to boost live sheep exports.

As FW went to Press (Wed), Mr Machin was meeting with solicitors in London with a view to responding to Mr Morleys letter. Farmers Ferry declined to comment on the effects that a ban would have on its business.