22 March 1996

NFU and LINK part over

confrontational stance

THE NFU has severed all links with LIST, the livestock industry support trust.

NFU deputy president Tony Pexton said his original fears that LIST would simply duplicate work done by others, including the NFU, had proved true.

And he was concerned that LIST handled some issues in a way that the NFU did not feel comfortable with. He said the unions approach to public relations was non-confrontational while others, including LIST, adopted a very combative stance.

When the trust was formed last February, the NFU attended meetings as an observer. But LIST spokesman Rowland Kershaw-Dalby, secretary of the National Cattle Breeders Association, said a decision had been taken last month to ban observers and the NFU had declined to join the council.

Mr Kershaw-Dalby rejected the claims that LIST was duplicating work, and he was unapologetic that it had adopted a confrontational approach to some animal rights extremists.

Between February and December last year the trust received about £90,000 from producers who donated a headage payment when they sold stock at market, he said.

Defending live exports

The money had been used for various schemes including involvement in some legal cases to defend live exports, and the establishment of a legal helpline for anyone with export problems.

Most of the remaining money was spent on public relations, including talking to MPs and others about issues including the animal transport directive, he said and audited accounts would be published soon.

LISTs main project now was trying to convince the French that British calves, reared in France for veal, posed no health risks.

"We are seriously concerned. Exporters are having orders cancelled and there is reduced demand for our calves which has meant a fall in calf prices of up to £30 a head recently," said Mr Kershaw-Dalby.

He blamed animal rights groups who had been stirring up French consumers by suggesting that there could be a link between BSE and the human condition Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease. And the French were now asking why there were strict controls on specified bovine offal in the UK yet no such controls existed in France to deal with calves sourced from the UK. &#42