Livestock industry ‘showing confidence’ after difficult year, says Lord Rooker

The livestock industry is showing “signs of confidence” despite the difficulties of 2007, Defra minister Jeff Rooker told delegates at the Meat and Livestock Commission’s Outlook conference.

“Last year was one of the most difficult years for diseases we have ever known,” Lord Rooker said.

“The important thing now is that we get co-operation through the supply chain. Everyone needs to make a profit, or the supply chain won’t work.”

“There’s work to be done, but there are already signs of confidence in the industry.”

Meat exports

Lord Rooker said meat exports had been exceeding expectations prior to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth and the industry should be able to rebuild exports relationships.

“And although not many people are making any money when you take out the single farm payment, population and global demand for meat is increasing.”

Lord Rooker acknowledged the industry faced other challenges in reducing its carbon footprint and the threat of Bluetongue resurfacing later in the year.

However, he said he hoped the impact of Bluetongue could be limited through vaccination which the government had already ordered in preparation.