15 June 2001

Sheepmeat to flood UK

EXPORT bans will push about 40,000t of unwanted sheepmeat onto the UK market this year, warns NFU Scotland president Jim Walker.

Most will come from light hill lambs, for which there is no traditional UK market, he told a meeting of farmers in Dumfries and Galloway. "There are no answers yet on how we should tackle this. Some people suggest freezing it, but thats pointless. Something that is worth nothing when it goes into a freezer is still worth nothing when it comes out again."

A purchase for destruction scheme is one option that the farming unions will discuss with the newly appointed rural affairs secretary Margaret Beckett.

"But public perception could be a real problem," said Mr Walker. "More than 3m animals have already been killed. I dont know if they would react too well if we propose taking out another 3m-4m lambs." &#42