14 August 1998
Farmers Ferry buy-out deal
TALKS that will see animal export company Brindie bought out by Farmers Ferry, the non-profit consortium founded by five Welsh sheep producers, are almost concluded.
But an announcement will not be made at least until next week due to fears that a buy-out could lead to a wave of protest from animal welfare groups.
Brindie holds the charter on the Cap Afrique, a roll-on roll-off ferry with room for 10,000 sheep, due to sail from Dover to Dunkirk today (Friday). But company officials are refusing to say who has control over the ships cargo of live lambs.
“If the deal is concluded and the Cap Afrique sails under the Farmers Ferry flag, it is better that the animal rights folks do not know,” said a Brindie source.
Animal rights campaigners have pledged to protest at Dover whoever holds the charter on the Cap Afrique. But they claim that a take-over by Farmers Ferry will result in more demonstrators taking part.
“We are particularly concerned at the proposals from Farmers Ferry,” said Philip Lymbery, spokesman for Compassion in World Farming. “This will be the first time that the broad farming community has nailed its colours to a single mast.”
Farmers Ferry spokesman Mike Gooding said talks between the farmers and Brindie were nearing a conclusion. “The earlier we can get going the better,” he said. “I would think we will be able to say something next week.”
For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 14-20 August, 1998