Industry welcomes FMD restriction ease

The meat industry has welcomed the move to allow the licensed movement of animals to abattoir.

Defra announced that cattle, sheep and pigs outside the foot-and-mouth (FMD) surveillance and protection zones will be permitted to move to slaughter.

BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan said: "this is great news for pig farmers and great news for consumers. It means the vast majority of pigs can move into the processing sector and relieve mounting pressure on farms.

"There is still a long way to go to get the market back to normal, but this is an important first step."

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "This is a measured and very necessary first step on the road towards getting the industry back to normal and maintaining supplies of home-produced meat to consumers, but it should not be taken in any way as a signal that we can afford to drop our guard. It is as vital as ever that livestock farmers remain vigilant, check their stock regularly and report anything suspicious immediately. The highest possible standards of bio-security must be maintained."

EBLEX chairman John Cross added: "From day one of this crisis, EBLEX has focused its efforts on the need to ensure both our domestic and export markets are given the necessary support to ensure a rapid return to 'business as usual' - although this will inevitably take some time.

"Yesterday EBLEX launched a major promotional campaign encouraging consumers to show their support for farmers by buying Quality Standard Mark beef and lamb.

"Promotional kits have been sent to butchers, farm shops and caterers in the Quality Standard Mark scheme as part of that campaign. The EBLEX team will also be talking at length with those in the red meat supply chain who are committed to quality beef and lamb to ensure there is a balance between supply and demand over the coming weeks."