Defra threat to livestock transport

Proposals in Defra’s consultation on the transport of animals could threaten the existence of businesses producing livestock on many of Scotland’s Islands and more remote areas.

That was one of the views to come out of an on-line producer meeting on the issue which attracted over 170 farmers on Tuesday night.

Organised by NFU Scotland, the meeting heard that the proposals to limit transport to markets and abattoirs if temperatures fell below 5 degrees C or if the wind speed was above Beaufort scale 6 (25mph) would render ferry transportation unviable.

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Kenny Slater of the union’s Kirkwall office said that official records showed that during 2020 there had only been five days during which this wind speed had not been reached – and on two of these the temperature had been below 5 degrees:

“That would have meant we would have had only three days to move 41,000 sheep and 24,000 cattle to be sold on the mainland.”

Stating that this would put the very existence of the livestock industry on many islands in jeopardy, union vice-president Charlie Adam warned that there were several other threats to transportation across the country included in the proposals:

“And while the Scottish Government is carrying out its own consultation, with many animals being transported south of the border any new rules would inevitably affect Scottish producers as well.”

He added that while the massive oversubscription of the meeting had indicated the strength of feeling on the issue, plans were afoot to hold another to allow those who had been unable to join in to voice their opinions.