5 March 2001
Industry leaders slam ‘greedy’ abattoirs

By FWi staff

GREEDY abattoirs are quoting farmers prices lower than those in place before the foot-and-mouth crisis – despite shortages, industry leaders claim.

On Monday (05 March) producers in areas unaffected by the outbreak were allowed to send stock to abattoirs under strict licensing before shortages take hold.

But although supermarket supplies of UK meat are running low, there have been reports that prices have not reflected this.

Robert Forster, chief executive of the National Beef Association said: “Abattoirs are showing their colours already.

“We know of companies that have already bought cattle at 182p-185p. So those offering 160p or less are just trying it on.

“Its the big greedy ones doing the usual trick,” he added.

And National Pig Association regional manager Ian Campbell said there were reports that pig farmers taking animals to abattoirs were unhappy at the prices.

He said prices being paid were similar to before the crisis.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown has refused to rule out government intervention on prices, should farmers fail to get a fair price for animals.

Mr Brown said the market may take some time to get back to normal, including prices to farmers.

But he added: “I would expect the trade to be operating more normally as we get the scheme established.”

The Ministry of Agriculture has reported that the take-up for licences has been brisk, though some producers complained of delays in receiving them.

Meanwhile, MAFF officials believe they can link foot-and-mouth case in Dartmoor to other cases of the disease, reports the BBC.

Concerns had been raised that disease was not linked and had spread on the wind, placing all stock in the area at jeopardy.

In another development, MAFF is to enlist 30 vets from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and 130 private UK vets to help trace livestock.

And France has announced a 15-day ban on the export and movement of cattle, sheep and pigs after foot-and-mouth antibodies were discovered.

The Ministry of Agriculture had confirmed 70 cases of foot-and-mouth disease by Monday (05 March).

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage