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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 17:56 GMT
Scottish lamb exports to resume
Lamb exports are set to resume from Scotland
The European Union has given the green light for a lifting of the export ban on lamb and venision in most of Scotland.

The decision was taken on Tuesday by the EU's standing veterinary committee.

The ban will remain in place in the two parts of the country which were most affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak - Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

However, the two regions have been given consent to export beef to Europe.

This is great news for Scotland's hard-pressed sheep farmers and venison exporters who have endured so much hardship over the last year

Ross Finnie
No date for the resumption of exports has been confirmed.

The decision has been welcomed by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland (NFUS).

Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said the reopening of Scotland's export markets had been his top priority following the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease north of the border.

Previous meetings of the committee had given approval for pigmeat exports from the whole of Scotland, along with beef exports from areas outwith Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie welcomed the decision
"I am absolutely delighted, therefore, that the committee has now voted in favour of the resumption of lamb and venison exports from all of Scotland, apart from our two border counties," he said.

"This is great news for Scotland's hard-pressed sheep farmers and venison exporters who have endured so much hardship over the last year.

"Beef producers in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders will also welcome the fact that beef from these areas will be eligible for export."

Mr Finnie said the next step would be to secure the resumption of sheep and venison exports from the whole of Scotland.

"Re-establishing exports has been a progressive progress," he added.

'Absolute delight'

"I have every confidence that with the continued support of Commissioner Byrne and his officials, whose assistance has been invaluable throughout this process, we will succeed in that respect as well."

John Kinnaird, of the NFUS said the decision would be greeted with "absolute delight"

He told BBC Scotland: "This is a major step forward in our recovery from foot-and-mouth and I think producers in general will be absolutely delighted.

"It's past time that the export market was opened up, there is no reason for it to remain closed."

John Kinnaird
John Kinnaird: "Absolutely delighted
Mr Kinnaird said it was still disappointing that sheep exports from the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway were not included.

He said: "That is partly damaging but we have to look back to what happened to pig meat and the announcement that the beef market is again open from Dumfries and Galloway the Borders.

"We redouble our efforts to make sure that the sheep meat will follow exactly the same lines, it needs to be opened up as soon as possible."

The move came the week after the first consignment of British meat to head for Europe since the foot-and-mouth outbreak left an abattoir in Scotland.

The pork was exported to Germany after it was loaded up at premises in Ayr.

John Kinnaird, NFUS
"This is a major step forward in our recovery"
Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie
"We haven' had a case of foot-and-mouth since May"
Alan Mackay reports
"Sheep men say it should have happened much earlier."
See also:

02 Nov 01 | Scotland
British meat exports resume
11 Oct 01 | Scotland
Finnie presses for meat exports
28 Sep 01 | Scotland
Foot-and-mouth restrictions eased
11 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scotland free of farm disease
28 Sep 01 | England
Pig causes foot-and-mouth scare
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