Breeder sees red over traffic lights for herd transfers

6 July 2001

Breeder sees red over traffic lights for herd transfers

By Nigel Burnham

A CHAMPION cattle breeder has attacked the "ministry madness" which forced him to install traffic lights to move cattle across a busy road.

Dennis Craig, who farms at Westgate, Weardale, Co Durham, paid £820 to hire the lights so he can move his 30-strong herd of pedigree shorthorns to fresh pasture during the next six weeks.

The cows must cross the A689 four times a day for milking – and each time he must disinfect the road because of foot-and-mouth.

Mr Craig, who won a reserve champion ticket at the Royal Highland Show, said he has followed every instruction from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since the F&M crisis began.

"This has to be the last straw. Its absolute madness. The people at the ministry dont seem to understand the practical side of farming or how all this bureaucracy has affected farmers during the crisis.

"DEFRA officials have pestered us silly. They dont seem to know whether they are coming or going."

Mr Craig always moved the cattle across the road using hand signals before F&M. But that method became impractical when he also had to disinfect the road.

"I installed the lights because without them there would have been a potential traffic hazard every time the cattle crossed the road."

A DEFRA spokesman said Mr Craigs decision to install lights was his choice. "We advise farmers to disinfect roads when they are moving cattle but installing traffic lights is a matter for Mr Craig." &#42

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