The movement of livestock under licence to abattoirs in Scotland will start tomorrow (Wednesday), according to NFU Scotland.
Speaking just before 5pm this afternoon, Scottish NFU president, Jim McLaren, confirmed the necessary authorisation and abattoir inspections had been completed and livestock should start moving to abattoirs under licence to slaughter tomorrow.
And he urged farmers to ensure they have negotiated a definite price from purchasers prior to sending animals for slaughter. Responding to concern from members about a potential slump in prices, Mr McLaren said if anything prices should be stronger than they were before the movement ban.
“We are in a completely different world from the 2001 outbreak. This time we have had closures of facilities for two or three days, similar to an Easter or Christmas break, not the total shut down we saw in 2001,” he said.
And he pointed out there will be increased costs due to stock being retained longer on farms and the requirement for single point collection.
“If producers find themselves in a price pressure situation we would be very keen to hear from them and identify anyone trying to take advantage of the situation,” he said.
Mr McLaren urged producers to adhere to very tight biosecurity standards – ensuring farm vehicles used to transport animals to slaughter are clean on departure from farms and stressing producers should expect to clean vehicles thoroughly on departure from abattoirs.
And he said the NFUS was pushing for regionalised lifting of the other movement restrictions to be on the basis of as large an area of GB as possible.
The prospects for livestock sales recommencing will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow (Wed) between SEERAD officials and vets, NFUS and Scottish haulier and auctioneer representatives. Major sheep sales in the north of Scotland look likely to be hit by the movement ban but Mr McLaren emphasised that it would be foolish to reschedule these too soon, before movement is possible in buyers’ areas.