24 April 1998
Beef ban to ease ‘in months’ — Fischler

THE ban on British beef exports is likely to be eased within months, predicted the European Agriculture Commissioner on his weekend visit to west Cumbria.

Franz Fischler forecast a partial lifting of the ban under a date-based scheme which would free all animals born after a certain date – August 1 last year – for the European export trade.

The breakthrough was welcomed by the Minister of Agriculture, Jack Cunningham, who gave the commissioner the chance to meet and hear the problems of local farmers privately, as well as visiting a struggling dales hill farmer. “If we can get approval for this date-based export scheme it would be the beginning of the end of the ban,” he pointed out.

“From the very nature of such a scheme, all animals would quality for export in time. If all goes well it could happen within months and that would be tremendous in removing one of the biggest problems our beef farmers face at the present time. The other is the strength of Sterling.”

Neither could set a deadline for the total lifting of the ban.

But Dr Cunningham declared: “I am determined to secure a lifting of this ban. We have already made real progress in the 10 months I have been doing the job as minister and I am determined we will achieve more widespread success such as the date-based scheme.”

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 24-30 April, 1998

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