21 August 2001
Welsh chaos eases as stock moves

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

LIVESTOCK movement licences are being issued again at the Welsh Assemblys Carmarthen office after three days of chaos and confusion.

Foot-and-mouth licensing was suspended following a dispute over the interpretation of regulations, according to the Farmers Union of Wales.

“It seems that some divisional offices were allowing farmers to move animals off farms less than 20 days after stock was moved on from other land held by the business,” said FUW policy director Arwyn Owen.

“Incoming stock had to be held on designated fields on the main holding, but as the rules do not allow this, new instructions have been issued.”

The union has learned that short-distance licences will be issued for movements to off-lying land without prejudicing movements from the main unit.

Meanwhile, figures from the ARC-Addington Fund show that it distributed 2.4 million in hardship grants to Welsh farmers in the last six months.

This was 30% of the total paid out by the charity.

Michael Cruchley, Synod Rural Officer for the United Reformed Church and the funds trustee in Wales, called for further help.

He wants churches across Wales to consider donating harvest festival collections to needy farmers.

But Paul Flynn, the controversial Labour MP for Newport, has challenged farmers to explain why they deserve special help.

He said people raising funds for foot-and-mouth relief are shocked to hear well-compensated farmers “begging” for more to cover lost income.

Mr Flynn asked the farming unions to find members who are prepared to open their books to prove hardship.

They should explain to low-income groups why farmers are more deserving of help than them, said Mr Flynn.

Welsh farming “needs a dose of reality”, said the MP who in the past has been branded “insensitive” for comments on farming suicides.

“I have urged the FUW to campaign for poor farmers, not for all farmers.

“The answer to rural poverty is redistribution of wealth from rich farmers to poor,” said Mr Flynn.

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