12 June 2001
NFU comes down against 20-day rule

By FWi staff

THE National Farmers Union has joined the chorus of opposition to Government plans for a 20-day standstill proposal for cattle and sheep.

An effective quarantine period has been put forward as it is believed that frequent movements of stock helped spread foot-and-mouth across the country.

But responding to a consultation, NFU president Ben Gill joined the National Farmers Union Scotland in dismissing the proposals out of hand.

Government advisors the Farm Animal Welfare Council have also voiced concerns that the move could undermine viability of sheep-farming.

And the Meat and Livestock Commission has put forward what it claims is a cheaper and more practical alternative to the standstill.

“The proposal has not been thought through properly,” said Mr Gill. “It would put the industry in a straight-jacket.

“We agree that we cannot go back to where we were before foot-and-mouth but we need a well thought out package of measures to improve biosecurity.”

Mr Gill called for tighter controls on meat and live imports. Illegally imported infected meat is widely believed to be the source of the outbreak.

The NFU admitted that the argument for electronic tagging was “indisputable”, as it would improve traceability and could speed up the resumption of exports.

But Mr Gill added: “Electronic tagging should form part of the longer-term strategy.”

He said consideration should also be given to the registration of livestock dealers and collection centres.

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