Public backing for home produced can cut losses says NBA

The National Beef Association called for UK consumers to show their support for livestock farmers caught in the FMD crisis by focusing even more on purchasing home produced meat.

Consumers across the UK can show their support for livestock farmers caught in the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) crisis by focusing even more of their purchasing on home produced meat.

said the National Beef Association today.

It added that it is confident that the public have sympathy for farmers whose businesses are yet again being strangled by the FMD related animal movement bans which have deprived them of much needed sales on important export markets.

"The latest FMD outbreak is a kick in the teeth for farmers who were already struggling to maintain much needed income in the face of floods and who now face equally devastating problems caused by sales restrictions imposed by the European Commission, explained Northumberland livestock farmer and NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.

"The current position is that all meat produced in the UK can only be sold on the domestic market and there are quite justifiable fears that powerful supermarkets and big meat manufacturers will take advantage of this to force down the price of home produced cattle, sheep and pigs.

"Even if no more FMD cases are reported meat sales to other countries are unlikely to kick in until November which means that over the next three months farmers will be entirely at the mercy of the domestic buyers," he continued

"During the FMD crisis in 2001 livestock prices plummeted even though there was no corresponding fall in the price paid for steaks, chops and roasting joints at retail level and this is why the NBA is asking consumers for their support."

"If they can focus even more of their buying on British beef, lamb and pork they will generate more demand for meat produced on British farms and make it more difficult for supermarkets and other retailers to cash in on farmer despair."

"Farmers are in real fear that the multiples will take advantage of the crowding of meat supplies into domestic outlets and make their lives even more miserable," Burrell added.

"But if the public back their farmers by demanding only British meat and also turn their back on imports from the Republic of Ireland, South America, New Zealand, Denmark and Holland they will be giving the UK's hard pressed livestock industry a fighting chance of pulling through

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