19 September 1997
Glimmer of hope for UK beef industry

THE National Farmers Union (NFU) met with Franz Fischler, the European Agriculture Commissioner, in Brussels yesterday, to try to ease the European Union worldwide ban on exports of British beef.

Beef farmers are beginning to see a ray of hope following encouraging noises from the European Unions Scientific Veterinary Committee about a possible lifting of the ban under the UKs proposed “certified herds scheme”. It also said it welcomed and encouraged a proposed “born-after” scheme which calls for an end to the ban on animals born after a certain date.

The committee handed down its report earlier this week hinting that the ban could possibly be lifted against Northern Ireland because it had an “adequate” computerised cattle recording system – something which the rest of the UK is still trying to develop.

The NFU welcomed the fact that there was scientific backing for a partial lifting of the ban. The union was expected to tell Fischler it wanted the “born after” scheme to be adopted.

The International Meat Trade Association said the volumes of beef which would become available for export would be negligible to begin with. But there is widespread concern that former customers of UK beef will steer clear of the product – preferring to buy locally produced beef.

  • Financial Times 19/09/97 page 7
  • The Independent 19/09/97 page 4
  • Early end to beef ban proposed for Northern Ireland, FWi, September 17 – click here
  • End in sight to beef ban – in Ulster, FWi, September 18 (yesterday) – click here