20 November 2001
Whitty: Farmers may need licences
By FWi staff
FARMERS may be forced to obtain licences to continue farming in the wake of foot-and-mouth, junior farm minister Lord Whitty has said.
This would replace current health and safety, environmental and agricultural inspections with a single test, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Lord Whitty said that it was| fairly well established that on-farm standards in issues like biosecurity are variable.
He added: There is an idea that we should have a total certification process that would be an inspection of the whole farm, meeting all of those criteria.
Tory rural affairs spokesman Peter Ainsworth said the government should be focusing on strengthening import controls, not introducing more red tape.
More regulation is not the answer to the suffering in the farming community, he said.
Theres no point in piling on regulations aimed at controlling animal disease until effective action is taken to imports of illegal and sub-standard food.
The governments complacency means that we could import foot-and-mouth again tomorrow, warned Mr Ainsworth.
National Farmers Union president Ben Gill said the proposals did not address the issues thrown up by foot-and-mouth.