7 March 2001
Blair adviser wants end to markets

By FWi staff

ONE of Tony Blairs top advisers has called for all livestock to move direct from farm to slaughterhouse without passing through “disease-spreading” markets.

Lord Haskins, the Labour Peer who is chairman of the Better Regulation Task Force, also says that pig swill should be banned and animal medicine reduced.

He says markets would still play a role in moving cattle from breeding farms to fattening units, but animals need not be sold several times before slaughter.

Lord Haskins, chairman of Northern Foods, is one of the Prime Ministers leading business advisers.

Writing in The Guardian, he presents a plan to rebuild Britains blighted farming industry once the foot-and-mouth crisis is over.

However he rejects calls for a return to pre-intensive farming.

Were it not for increased productivity wheat prices would now be 1000 a tonne, compared to 70, bread would cost 2 a loaf and milk 2 a pint, he writes.

Consumers would have to pay twice as much for food and rickets would return among poor people who would be unable to afford enough milk.

Instead, Lord Haskins outlines an alternative plan to tackle shortcomings and potential dangers in modern farming and food production.

There should be a review of over-intensive pig production, and rewards for environmentally-friendly husbandry, he believes.

Farmers should move “from a culture of dependency to one of enterprise” and more must be done to monitor scientific innovation, he writes.

Down on the farm by Lord Haskins (The Guardian, 7 March, 2001)

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks

Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage