18 October 1999
Poole next target for beef protest

by FWi staff

MILITANT livestock farmers have named Poole harbour as the next target in their ongoing fight against the French ban on British beef exports.

Hundreds of farmers from southern England are expected to blockade the port on Tuesday evening (19 October) to try to prevent French lorries entering the country.

The demonstration follows a similar protest last week when 500 livestock producers from the West Country descended on Millbay Docks, Plymouth.

This latest protest is the second in what farmers have pledged will be a “winter of discontent” unless the French ban on British beef is lifted.

Organisers have billed the event as a “demonstration, not a blockade,” but farmers are unlikely to let any French lorries through the port without a fight.

Paul Simpson, chairman of Dorset National Farmers Union and joint organiser of the Poole protest, described the French ban on British beef as “ridiculous”.

“Our aim is to keep the profile of the issue high with the public and maintain pressure on the French government,” he said.

 
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Protestors will ask to inspect the cargo of any lorries arriving from France on the 10pm ferry will try and establish their destination in the UK.

“We are not there to stop lorries leaving the docks,” said Mr Simpson.

But co-organiser David Hubbart, chairman of Somerset National Farmers Union, said the protestors would also try to convince British producers to buy British food.

“If they chose not to buy French food it wont come in,” he said.