Scottish relief as FMD movements allowed from next week

NFU Scotland has welcomed with relief the news that Scotland will be free of all domestic movement restrictions next Wednesday, 17 October.

Yesterday, the union stressed that Scotland's livestock industry was being crippled by restrictions, with markets and farms unable to function properly as a result of the 20-day standstill.

While stressing that farmers would have hoped for an earlier lifting, NFUS has welcomed the timetable nonetheless, which allows farmers to plan ahead. It is important to note that the restrictions relating to meat exports - including a 21-day standstill requirement on farms and 30-day residency period for animals - remain in place.

NFUS president Jim McLaren said: "This is good news and there will be a collective sigh of relief across the country that we will be free of domestic restrictions in a week. The 20-day standstill has tied the industry in knots and put the market system in turmoil.

"While there are problems right now, and we could have done with the restrictions being lifted this week rather than next, we can at least see light at the end of the tunnel.

"When the restrictions are lifted farmers will be able to bring in new stock to the farm, use separation arrangements and therefore take other animals to move off for sale. These kinds of movements are critical over the autumn period.

"Another example of the problem has been on Bute. The island would normally be taking on sheep but because the mainland has remained restricted, and the island is in the 'free' zone, it has not been able to. This has further hurt farms on the island already suffering financial problems and it has also created welfare problems on the mainland with animals backing up.

"I would also stress once again that, while we have been focussed so heavily on lifting restrictions, biosecurity still remains important. Vets are worried about the lack of appropriate clothing at markets and I would remind all our members of the licence conditions. They must wear clothing that can be cleansed and sprayed."

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