Farmers threaten to withhold lambs

5 October 2001

Farmers threaten to withhold lambs

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

SHEEP producers in North Wales are threatening to withhold lambs from abattoirs unless they are offered better prices.

About 100 farmers who packed a meeting at Llanwrst Market on Thursday (4 October ) accused abattoirs and retailers of ripping them off

The farmers claim they should be getting at least 1.70/kg for their lambs. Instead, they have been offered about 1.40/kg.

Elfed Williams, Conwy area secretary the National Farmers Union Cymru-Wales, said farmers had to help themselves to boost prices.

The meat supply chain would tighten its stranglehold on producer prices as more lambs became available, he predicted.

Mr Williams said action would be effective only if widespread, but warned that unions were legally prevented from calling for a market boycott.

“I think that we would certainly retain the sympathy of consumers if we stuck out for a fair and reasonable return,” he said.

“But in my long experience it is very unlikely that all producers will be prepared to work together anyway.”

The sheep producers have also agreed to talk to auctioneers about how a network of collection centres could help producers improve prices.

Calls to blockade ports to halt meat imports were rejected.

But Clwyd farmer Ieuan Lewis will write to the Food Standards Agency to demand hygiene checks on imported meat.

“The feeling is that consumers are paying enough for lamb, but not enough of the money is reaching producers,” he said.

The farmers claim that supermarkets make over 30 each on boxed light lambs when they are getting only 18 per head before paying levies.


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