12 September 2000
Fuel protest could hit animal welfare

By FWi staff

MILLIONS of farm animals face welfare problems as farmers protests cause fuel supplies to dry up around the country, an industry leader has warned.

And action could cost arable farmers millions of pounds and jeopardise seed planting, says industry supply trade association UKASTA.

UKASTA chairman Andrew Barnard explained the extent of the crisis to the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

We have in the UK over 100 million broiler and layer hens to be fed as well as several million pigs and as stocks run out on farms we urgently need deliveries.

Its becoming an increasing welfare issue and I think within the next two to three days we will start to see some serious problems occurring.

Mr Barnard warned that grain was being harvested with surplus moisture which could lead to rapid deterioration if not dried very quickly.

Grain driers were working flat out dealing with moisture levels at least 5% above what they should be for long term storage.

We need to get that grain dry otherwise there could some critical issues in terms of deliveries to flour millers, maltsters, said Mr Barnard.

Related to this was the question of seed deliveries, which need to get to farms for autumn sowing.

Any delay would have a knock-on effect in 2001 harvest warned Mr Barnard.

As the crisis grows, the government is preparing to use emergency powers to tackle the growing fuel crisis.

The Privy Council and the Queen have sanctioned the use of contingency powers to control the distribution of fuel across the UK, reports the BBC.

This aims to ensure fuel supplies get through to “priority users” such as health services, schools and public transport.

Hundreds of petrol stations have already run dry, queues have formed at many others and two thirds of the countrys oil refineries remain blockaded.

Scottish farmers are set to join lorry drivers on the streets of Edinburgh on Tuesday (12 September) as protests escalate about the cost of fuel.

And pressure group Farmers for Action has pledged that protests will continue until the government acts to reduce the price of fuel.