26 May 1995

LIST launched to set welfare record straight

A NEW pressure group to promote the livestock industry, and counter the claims of extreme animal welfare groups, was launched this week.

LIST, the Livestock Industry Support Trust, is a coalition of livestock breeders, auctioneers, hauliers and exporters. The Farmers Union of Wales is represented on the council and, though the NFU is not a member, its representatives attend council meetings as observers.

Funding will come from livestock producers, who will be asked for voluntary contributions when they market stock. The guideline for contributions is £1 a calf and 20p a lamb.

Rowland Kershaw-Dalby, secretary of the National Cattle Breeders Association, and LIST spokesman, said the group aimed to correct the "lies, half-truths and misinformation put across in the media from anti-livestock groups".

He insisted the UK livestock industry was under threat from a combination of genuinely concerned people and those with a long-term agenda to destroy UK farming.

Educate the public

LIST would attempt to "set the record straight" and educate the public about the necessity of moving animals throughout Europe. "We believe the attempts physically to stop animal exports strike at far more than agriculture. It would be intolerable and an outrage if those going about their lawful business were prevented from doing so by a mob," said Mr Kershaw-Dalby.

The geographic seasonality of livestock production in Europe made it vital for animals to be transported to other areas for finishing and to markets where there was a demand, he added.

"This trade, which generates £200m of income, is essential to the future viability of livestock production in some of the remoter hill farming areas, including Scotland and Wales, often remote from Continental markets."

LIST also intended to draw consumers attention to what it called the hypocrisy of the anti-farming lobby. Mr Kershaw-Dalby said the UK imported meat from Australasia, America and Africa. "But few of these countries have any legislation on animal welfare at all," he said.

Shelley Wright