12 June 2001
Scots dismiss 20-day solution

By FWi staff

PROPOSALS for a 20-day standstill requirement for cattle and sheep have been dismissed out of hand by Scottish farmers leaders.

The National Farmers Union Scotland says the plan is an impulsive reaction to the foot-and-mouth outbreak, which has not been properly thought out.

Instead it calls for the Scottish Executive to strengthen the existing legislation by ensuring that the details of all sheep movements are recorded centrally.

This comes days after Government animal welfare advisors in London warned that the 20-day rule could undermine the viability of sheep farming.

The NFUS was responding to Scottish Executive proposals to prevent a repetition of the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

The Government has proposed the ban, as it is believed that frequent movements of stock helped spread the disease across the country.

“The proposal appears to be an impulsive reaction by a Government intent simply on being seen to be doing something,” said livestock committee chairman David Mitchell.

“The practical implications have not been properly thought out.”

Mr Mitchell claimed the proposals had little veterinary credibility and would completely undermine much of the industry and increase bureaucracy.

Strengthening existing legislation so all sheep movements are recorded centrally and are immediately accessible was “a better approach”, he said.

An absence of information such as this early in the crisis made it difficult to anticipate where the disease would strike, said Mr Mitchell.

On Friday (8 June) the chairman of the Farm Animal Welfare Council told an open meeting in London on Friday that the group had concerns about the plan.

The move could undermine the viability of sheep husbandry systems, said Judy MacArthur Clark.

This has the potential to create significant welfare problems for the animals trapped within non-viable systems, she warned.

In its submission to the Scottish Executive, the SNFU also called for enforcement of controls against the import of illegal or substandard meat.

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