16 September 1999
Desperate farmer shoots 50 sheep
DEVON livestock farmer Maurice Vellacott watched as 50 of his sheep were shot dead yesterday morning because they are worthless.
Mr Vellacott is pictured with his neighbour, Peter Delbridge, on the front of todays Daily Telegraph with one of his sheep in a crush with a rifle to its head.
Twenty other ewes, belonging to Steve Porter, a farmer from Litton, a few miles away, were also shot on Mr Vellacotts farm.
Mr Vellacott spoke to the Telegraph before the sheep were slaughtered becase the three men wanted to publicise the full impact of the crisis in farming.
Meanwhile, a rescue plan for Britains sheep farmers is about to be submitted for approval to the European Union (EU), reports The Independent.
The article is a re-working of a story which had already been reported on FWi and had appeared in several of Wednesdays broadsheet newspapers.
The plan, devised by Scottish rural affairs minister Ross Finnie, would require taxpayers to fund the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of worthless ewes.
Ministers believe the plan will circumvent EU rules preventing state aid to commercial enterprises because it does not involve direct payment to farmers.
The Independent is confident, for undisclosed reasons, that Franz Fischler, the EU commissioner for agriculture, will agree to the deal next week.