CAP reform 'poses a threat' to Scottish meat industry

Reform of the EU common agricultural policy (CAP) continues to pose one of the biggest threats to the Scottish meat processing industry, leaders have warned.

Alan Craig, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW), told delegates at the association’s annual conference: “The biggest threat to the livelihoods of the 3,000 people employed in our industry is to be starved of livestock. That threat is even more palpable today as it was when we comprehensively warned the industry in 2003 of the likely consequences of decoupling.”

He said the outcome of CAP reform in 2013 must see a return to some form of production-stabilising fund, independent of any area-based payment system. He criticised the decision to decouple payment: “If the intention of British Agriculture PLC was, or still is, to produce less red meat in the UK, allowing the melting pot market price of meat on the shelves to be diluted by cheaper imports, then we can pop open the corks, because we’re certain to achieve that goal.

“If our dream is to emulate the dizzy heights of self-sufficiency that have been achieved in the pork and poultry sectors, then we’re right on track.”

George Lyons, MEP, told delegates: “It’s absolutely fundamental that we continue to have CAP and continue to get support into the livestock sector in Scotland, otherwise there’s a very bleak future for this industry.”

He claimed the rest of the world subsidises its farming industries, even in the US, and to remove support within the EU would be handing over production to other countries around the world.

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