Reverse decline in livestock numbers, say Scots

The future of the Scottish meat industry is at serious risk unless something is done about the continuing decline in livestock numbers.

That’s the less-than-cheery New Year message from the body which represents the country’s meat processors and marketing bodies – the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW).

“The steady decline in numbers which we’ve had to endure in recent years is eating away at the very fabric of our industry,” warns Alan Craig, president of SAMW.

“Unless we halt the current decline in livestock numbers and begin to rebuild production, our international reputation as a source of quality meat will be seriously diminished.”

Recent claims about the contribution of livestock to greenhouse gas emissions and the proposals to further cut stock numbers must be quashed, says Mr Craig.

“Issues surrounding climate change also continue to grow, including some hugely misleading claims on the impact of livestock in this context.

“Many of the arguments being advanced against livestock don’t stand up to examination and it’s time we started to answer back.”

He believes that the ongoing Pack inquiry into the future restructuring of support for the Scottish agricultural industry will be critical in turning the sector around and its findings must not be ignored.

“I believe we’ve now reached a critical stage and that unless 2010 delivers a genuine turning point, our whole farm-to-plate industry will suffer severe and lasting damage.”

“We’re entering a year of real opportunity but we need to get our message right and deliver it in the correct way.”