26 August 1999
Sheep collapse devastates Scotland
THE collapse in sheep prices is having severe repercussions throughout the Scottish rural economy, according to the National Farmers Union of Scotland.
Jim Walker, NFUS president, gave numerous examples of how many dependent businesses had been affected by the downturn in the sheep sector.
Speaking at an open meeting staged by the unions Lothian and Borders branch, Mr Walker also cited his own recent experience of selling sheep.
He said he had sold 310 lambs, taking £9000 less this year than last from the sale, which had forced him to make one of his staff redundant.
Mr Walker urged the government to introduce a disposal scheme to take out the additional 300,000 ewes in the UK.
The Meat and Livestock Commission has asked Scotlands rural affairs minister Ross Finnie for government help with transport and slaughter costs for sheep.
Direct payments to farmers by the government would be illegal under European Union regulations.