14 March 2001
Morley backs farm licensing
By FWi staff
JUNIOR agriculture minister Elliot Morley has backed calls for a licensing system for all farms.
Under this, farmers who flout welfare laws and health and hygiene regulations could have their licence revoked and be forced out of the industry.
Scheme supporters include the RSPCA, which says last years swine-fever outbreak revealed farms of which the Ministry of Agriculture had no records.
Opponents of the scheme say it would be expensive to run and increase the burden of bureaucracy on producers.
Mr Morley said he was sensitive to concerns about increasing red tape, but said there was a strong argument for a licensing scheme.
“Where a minority cause problems for everybody, then one method of control would be removing the licence,” Mr Morley told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.
“That might be an easier and speedier process than the present methods of control under the various welfare legislation, which does mean going through courts and revoking the rights of people to keep animals.”
“Thats quite a lengthy and complicated process.”
Mr Morley added that a national livestock database would be considered in the aftermath of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
Six cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been confirmed on Wednesday (14 March) by MAFF, bringing the UK total to 211.
Three new outbreaks have been confirmed in Dumfries & Galloway, two in Country Durham, and one in Cumbria.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage