6 November 2001
Euro-vets vote to let in lamb

By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

BRITISH lamb could soon be on its way to Continental consumers for the first time since foot-and mouth struck last February.

European vets decided in Brussels on Tuesday (6 November) to allow exports from those counties that have had no cases of the disease this year.

The decision means that sheepmeat from 33 counties in England, Scotland and Wales may now be exported, starting next week.

But live exports are still banned.

The move followed pressure from the European Commission for the vets to stick to the science and ignore the politics.

As a result, 13 out of the 15 member-states voted in favour of lifting the ban.

Austria and Finland abstained.

The vets also decided to permit imports of sheep from other member-states to disease-free counties for restocking, subject to certain conditions.

They agreed to extend the list of counties eligible to export beef to those that have not had foot-and-mouth for over 90 days.

Significantly, that includes Cornwall, allowing St Merryn Meat to get back into the export business.

A decision two weeks ago to limit beef exports to counties with no foot-and-mouth this year had meant Scotbeef was the only export-approved abattoir.

Farmed game may also be exported from the same counties as sheep.