Industry to meet Hayman over passport costs

10 August 1999

Industry to meet Hayman over passport costs

By FWi staff

CATTLE-BUSINESS representatives are to meet junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman over the costs of cattle passports.

Their message at tomorrows (Wednesday) meeting will be that farmers will not accept plans to pass the costs on to the industry.

Lead by NFU deputy president Tim Bennett, the industry and government working group on animal identification will the plans would rob farmers of £18 million and load an extra £2m in costs on abattoirs.

Representatives will argue that, as a public health measure, the cost of the passport system should be funded by the Government.

Objections will also be raised over the Governments lack of encouragement for the widespread use of electronic data transfer systems like the NFU/ADAS CATTLEmail service on FWi.

Instead they claim the industry has been expected to meet the costs of the expensive postal system.

Mr Bennett said he intended to leave the minister in no doubt that the imposition of this cost can not be accepted. “As a matter of principal, it should be centrally funded,” he added.

“But even if this were not the case, beef and dairy farmers simply cannot afford to pay this extra cost at the moment with prices in their current dire state.”

David Williams, NFU livestock and wool committee chairman, said many livestock farmers are wondering how they can go on.

“This proposal could not come at a worse time, particularly with the ending of the calf processing aid scheme putting further critical pressure on the industry,” said Mr Williams.

“It has the potential to be the final nail in the coffin for many producers and we do not intend to let this happen,” he added.

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