27 July 2001

Lamb promotion

scene of attack

A WELSH sheep farmer launched a blistering attack on Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Assemblys rural affairs minister, at the launch of a Safeway lamb promotion in Aberystwyth this week.

The minister welcomed the scheme, which will see Safeway donate 1% of the value of all branded Welsh Mountain lamb sales and some larger lamb cuts to equip 12 county YFC offices with IT equipment.

Mr Jones said it would encourage sales at a time when exporting was prevented and help the YFC movement.

But Simon Bennett Evans, who faces the prospect of having many of the 2500 sheep he normally sells on one day in August slaughtered on welfare grounds, described the launch as somewhat bizarre.

He said the minister had rolled out the usual platitudes without once recognising that the whole Welsh sheep industry faced meltdown.

A Safeway manager later approached Mr Bennett Evans as he wrote down the stores lamb prices.

"I drew his attention to a plastic packet of four of the smallest chops I have ever seen that carried a price tag of £5.10 and got a barrage of rhetoric about packaging and presentation costs," said Mr Bennett Evans.

Young farmers will benefit from every Welsh lamb sold through Safeways 220 stores in the second half of the year. A similar project last season involving 30,000 lightweight mountain lambs raised enough money to buy a new Land Rover for the Ogwen Valley mountain rescue team in Snowdonia.

This year, Safeway is working with Samsung Electronics and meat supplier HM Bennett. The project has the support of Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions and the National Assembly. &#42