15 June 2001
No Union backing for export call
By Alistair Driver
CALLS for the early resumption of meat exports from areas free of foot-and mouth disease are unlikely to be backed by the National Farmers Union.
The National Pig Association has called for various parts of the country to be given regional foot-and-mouth free status so exports can resume.
It wants a resumption of pigmeat exports from East Anglia and other regions – such as the north of Scotland – that remain free of the disease.
National Pig Association chief executive Stuart Royston said: “It is essential to get exports moving again before other countries take over foreign markets.”
The NPA believes the pig industry has a powerful case, offering full traceability and a host of assurances that exports will be untainted.
But securing and maintaining disease free status for key pig-producing areas would be “very, very onerous,” said NFU head of commodities Simon Lunniss.
Regionalisation would place a heavy burden on the industry because of the strict controls that would come with it, he added.
“Policing would be a major operation requiring physical road blocks.”
Mr Lunniss said he favoured a “halfway house” policy in which exports could resume on individual farms on a case-by-case within provisionally free areas.
But the high cost involved means this would only be an option for exporters of high value stock, such as breeding animals, he added.
The other option is to wait until the whole of the UK is deemed disease free before allowing exports to resume, Mr Lunniss said.
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