9 July 2001
MLC warns of flood of lambs

By Alistair Driver

ONE million extra lambs will flood the UK market in the next year because of the export ban on British meat, the Meat and Livestock Commission predicts.

This warning comes as the MLC holds an Outlook conference on Monday (July 9) on the state of the red meat industry in the wake of foot-and-mouth.

About 150 delegates in London will hear that the outbreak will affect lamb, pork and beef supplies until 2003.

The sheep industry has been the hardest hit on two fronts.

More than 2.8m sheep have been slaughtered under the foot-and-mouth cull — about 80% of all animals culled.

But about 30% of sheep produced in the UK were exported, leaving a potential surplus of 1m lambs in the 2001/2 season, the MLC says.

Lost exports, particularly of cull sows, will also create an imbalance in the pig market.

In addition, the foot-and-mouth cull is likely to cause a 13% fall in prime cattle supplies this year.

The industry faces many challenges over the next 18 months, said MLC corporate strategy manager Bob Bansback.

But the MLC is determined to play its role in the recovery of the home market and in enabling us to restore export markets.

The MLC has asked the government for 25m to help it spearhead a recovery programme for the red meat industry.

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