06 March 1998
Grassroots farmers stop sale of Sir Simons cattle
By Johann Tasker
DOZENS of grassroots farmers descended on a small market town in Wales this morning and stopped the auction sale of 39 cattle belonging to former NFU president, Sir Simon Gourlay.
About 80 farmers entered the sales ring at Knighton market, Powys, and demanded the cattle were withdrawn from the auction. They claimed Sir Simon is a government advisor and is selling his beef herd because Dr Jack Cunningham plans to restructure the British beef industry.
“We are prepared to wait here all night until the cattle are removed,” one of the protestors told FWi.
Auctioneers McCartneys confirmed the cattle were being sent back to Sir Simons farm. But the cattle were entered into auction as “a genuine dispersal sale due to a change in calving policy,” and not because Sir Simon was pulling out of beef production, a source said.
Repeated attempts to contact Sir Simon for comment were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture said he didnt know whether Sir Simon was a government advisor but promised to look into the matter.