Sheep farming after Foot and Mouth: challenge and change

DEFRA news release (2 August 2001)

The sheep industry will need to change in the aftermath of Foot and Mouth if it is to have a sustainable, environmentally-sound and prosperous future, Lord Whitty, DEFRA Food and Farming Minister said today.

RUBBISH! HOW IS IT GOING TO SUSTAIN A FARMER IF HE HAS TO KEEP LESS SHEEP AND GET PAID LESS MONEY FOR THE MEAT BY THE SUPERMARKET + RECEIVE LESS SUBSIDIES!

He said that the industry would need to adapt to a future where there will be more emphasis on quality rather than quantity and a system of subsidies which encourages enhancement.

WHAT RUBBISH! HOW DO THESE PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH SPEAKING AND SAYING NOTHING! OUR LAMB IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW! THE FRENCH EXPORT THEIRS TO ARAB COUNTRIES SO THEY CAN TASTE OURS!

Both the industry and Government needed to ensure that farming responded to market demands and delivered the kind of landscape and wildlife habitats the public wanted.

THE MARKET IS TESCO, ASDA ETC. WHO ARE DEMANDING MEAT AT BELOW THE COST OF PRODUCTION. THEY WILL BUY THE CHEAPEST, EVEN IF IT COMES FROM ONE OF 13 COUNTRIES WHERE FMD IS ENDEMIC. AH! THEY WANT TO CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE TO SOAK UP POLLUTION NOT CAUSED BY FARMERS! THE WILDLIFE IS DOING PRETTY GOOD RIGHT NOW AND DO THE PUBLIC REALLY WANT TO SEE AN END TO THE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE IN CUMBRIA AND ELSEWHERE  A BIT MORE SPIN AND I GUESS THE PUBLIC WILL BE PERSUADED TO WANT CARBON SINK LANDSCAPES  WITH ADDERS. YOU NEED TO SEE THE COMMON NEAR TEWKESBURY WHERE THE SHEEP USED TO BE  A RIGHT BLOODY MESS! I WOULDNT WALK OUT THERE NOW AND RISK BEING BITTEN BY A SNAKE!

Speaking at the NFU Sheep Conference at Warwick today, Lord Whitty also announced the Government would:

-         -         adapt the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme (LWDS) so that it can act to prevent future welfare problems and environmental damage with lamb this autumn;

KILL MORE ANIMALS AND NOT PAY AS MUCH FOR THEM  NOT VERY SUSTAINABLE FOR FARMERS!

-         -         introduce a new regime for livestock movements in the autumn based on veterinary risk assessments;

MAKE LIFE MORE DIFFICULT FOR FARMERS BY RESTRICTING TRADE AND LUMBERING THEM WITH EXTRA VET COSTS TO INSPECT ANIMALS  VERY SUSTAINABLE FOR VETS!

-         -         make available a private storage aid scheme for sheepmeat

GOOD! AT LAST! HAVE THEY RUN OUT OF PLACES TO DIG HOLES?

Lord Whitty said:

"The cost of FMD has been huge.  THATS THE GOVTS FAULT FOR NOT VACCINATING!

The government has taken steps to control the spiralling costs and eliminate abuse of the massive support paid to contractors and farmers to fight this disease - by controlling C&D payments, abolishing the standard valuation card, changing the valuation regime, and reducing payments made under the LWDS to around 70% of market values. The total cost to taxpayers of the disease is likely to be over £2 billion.

THE COSTS ARE SPIRALLING BECAUSE THE GOVT ALLOWED THEM TO BY NOT VACCINATING, MISMANAGEMENT OF C&D, THROWING MONEY AT IT TO HOLD A GENERAL ELECTION AND NOW PULLING THE PLUG BECAUSE THERE WONT BE ANOTHER ELECTION FOR 4 YEARS.

No other industry would receive that level of support where there was no direct threat to public health and where the problem had been compounded by existing trading practices.

EXISTING TRADE PRACTICES!! SHEEP FARMING IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR FMD  THE GOVERNMENT IS! SHEEP FARMING IS THE MOST EXTENSIVE SYSTEM OF LIVESTOCK FARMING. NO OTHER INDUSTRY IS EXPECTED TO MAINTAIN THE LANDSCAPE WITHOUT PAYMENT.

The Government is committed to eradicating this disease and we are committed to these costs. But we must change this system for the future. We need a new regulatory framework; we need modern industry practices; never again can the taxpayer be obliged to pay costs which in other industries would be absorbed by the industry and its insurers.

WE MUST MAKE SURE WE DONT GET LUMBERED FOR THE CONSEQUENSES OF OUR POLICIES AGAIN!

"I am in the construction, not the demolition, business: we are here to build a sustainable industry for the future, not destroy it.

WHO ARE YOU KIDDING LORD WHITTY? SUSTAINABLE FOR WHO  THE GOVERNMENT? CERTAINLY NOT SUSTAINABLE FOR THE FARMERS.

"But there will be no straightforward return to any 'normality'. Sheep farming will have to change. In the long term, support from government and from the EU cannot be based on headage payments and production subsidies.

BIG BROTHER IS ABOUT TO DETERMINE OUR FUTURE. ANYWAY WTO WILL NOT ALLOW PRODUCTION SUBSIDIES (THEY HAVE TO BE CUT BY 34%) OTHER COUNTRIES STILL PAY THESE SUBSIDIES BUT THEY ARE DE-COUPLED FOR PRODUCTION. THIS WAS ALL AGREED IN 1994 AT WTO/GATT. PAYMENTS TO PRODUCERS MUST NOT BE TRADE DISTORTING.

The public interest is twofold: ensuring a competitive and healthy sheep sector - and we will help to modernise and restructure the industry and to make it safer through for example the National Scrapie Plan - and in ensuring environmental objectives for our flocks and our landscape. In the medium term the pattern of government support will need to reflect these objectives through for example agri-environmental schemes and diversification - not promote over production and overgrazing.

WORDS, WORDS  WHAT IS THE POINT OF MODERNISING AN INDUSTRY THAT IS NOT ALLOWED TO COMPETE? ALL PART OF THE SOFTENING UP PROCESS.

"Some farmers may be prepared to restock at a less intensive level than before, and we will encourage them to consider entering agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship or ESAs. Others might look at the possibility of converting to organic production, or consider making greater use of quality assurance linked to investment in marketing to obtain a higher premium for their produce; others might look at using some of their land for woodland, or diversifying into non-agricultural enterprises. These are the sorts of approaches that can be considered for funding under our existing ERDP schemes.

(i.e.)LETS CUT OUR PRODUCTION AND SPEND OUR HARD EARNED MONEY ON CHEAP IMPORTS FROM COUNTIES WHICH WILL GIVE US MORE DISEASE, DONT CARE ABOUT ANIMAL WELFARE AND ARE NOT OVER BURDENED WITH RED TAPE AND HIGH COSTS.

"More generally, we will continue to press for reform of the CAP to bring support prices closer to world levels and to decouple support payments from production, shifting them more towards broader rural development and environmental objectives."

AH! DECOUPLE! ALL IN WTO/GLOBALISATION. FARMERS CANT DEVELOP THE COUNTRYSIDE WITHOUT ANY MONEY - DIFFICULT IF YOU EARN LESS THAN £5000 A YEAR.

Background information

1.      1.      Adaptation of the LWDS to deal with an estimated 1.3 million surplus light lambs which would otherwise have been exported and which if not removed will lead to severe welfare problems in the breeding flock and environmental damage through overgrazing. New procedures will be put in place to deal with these under LWDS as a separate stream. Details will be announced later this month and the Scheme should operate from the beginning of September.

WEVE MADE A BALLS UP AND HAVE GOT TO CUT THE COSTS QUICK!

2.      2.      The LWDS continues to slaughter and dispose of 10-20,000 animals a day. A total of 1.3 million animals have been slaughtered to date and almost £125m paid to farmers.

DISGUSTING WASTE! COULD HAVE ALL BEEN AVOIDED.