8 October 1999

Slaughtering red tape – a test case

SHEEP and beef farmer John Warmerdam is so incensed at the strict rules imposed on British slaughterhouses that he has launched a legal test case against the government.

Mr Warmerdam, from Lochgilhead, Argyll, claims ministers breached European laws by imposing tougher rules on small abattoirs than those in place on the Continent.

Farmers, auctioneers and abattoir operators are among those who have so far donated about £7000 of the £50,000 he estimates is needed to fight the test case.

British farmers incur extra slaughterhouse costs averaging £29 for every prime steer they send to slaughter, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

"When you put charges like this on farmers, it is state opposition to fair trade," Mr Warmerdam told farmers weekly.

Donations to fight the test case are limited to a maximum of £100 and cheques should made payable to the Farmers Fight Back Fund.

They should be sent c/o Stewart, Balfour & Sutherland Solicitors, Lochgilphead, Argyle PA31 8LH.