28 June 2001
Two months to save sheep industry
By Shelley Wright
THE government has just two months to act if meltdown in the sheep industry is to be avoided, Scottish rural affairs minister Ross Finnie has warned.
Mr Finnie was speaking at the National Farmers Union conference in Dunblane, Stirlingshire, on Thursday (28 June).
“We are already in discussion with fellow UK ministers and clearly we have to make a decision within a couple of months,” he said.
He added: “We have two months to act because we are all too well aware of a potential meltdown later in the season.”
Mr Finnie refused to give any details of what options are being discussed, saying only that negotiations were at a delicate stage.
But one options known to be on the table is a disposal scheme to remove light lambs and cull ewes from the UK market.
Farmers have warned that 40,000 tonnes of sheepmeat could flood the domestic market because of an export ban imposed due to foot-and-mouth.
But the solution ultimately lies with the Treasury, said Mr Finnie.
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