NFU Cymru has said it is bitterly disappointed with the news that the earliest farmers can expect Over 30 Month beef exports to resume is the end of March 2006.
Ed Rees, NFU Cymru’s livestock board chairman, said: “The end of March just isn’t soon enough for Welsh beef farmers considering the OTMS will be lifted from 23 January.
“NFU Cymru will be maintaining pressure to lift the embargo as early as possible and if this isn’t achievable then we will continue to press for the OTMS scheme to be extended until such time as the normal export trade resumes. This has been our firm position all along.”
“In the meantime, I urge farmers to think carefully about what they do with their older livestock once the OTMS is replaced.”
The European Commission’s proposal on lifting the ban by ending the Date-Based Export Scheme should be discussed at a Standing Committee at the end of January.
Provided there is general support, it is expected that a vote will follow at the February meeting.
A further month is then allocated to allow the European Parliament to consider the legislation.
Translation of the legislation and the formal adoption by the Commission could also add several weeks to the official lifting of the ban.