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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 11:57 GMT
Scottish lamb back on European menus
Lamb exports from Scotland have resumed
Exports of Scottish lamb have resumed for the first time since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

The last major European export ban on Scottish meat imposed in the wake of the outbreak was lifted on Wednesday.

The dispatch of a consignment of lamb from a Stirlingshire abattoir on Thursday has been described as an important stage on the road to recovery by farming minister Ross Finnie.

It has also been welcomed by sheep farmers who are said to have been struggling to survive as a result of low market prices for their animals.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie is delighted with the progress

The industry hopes the reopening of foreign markets will see prices recover.

Mr Finnie said 850 lamb carcasses have been shipped from Scotbeef's abattoir in Bridge of Allan, bound for Northern France.

It was sent nine months after the first confirmed case of the disease in the UK.

The minister said: "This is a momentous day for Scotland and I am delighted that, at last, Scottish lamb is heading for European dinner plates.

"For many months we worked extremely hard with valuable assistance from the farming industry - to persuade the Standing Veterinary Committee of the European Commission in Brussels of the scientific strength of our case.

Venison ban

"Scottish lamb exports account for 20% of total GB exports - clearly illustrating how important the resumption of lamb exports are to Scottish producers."

The Standing Veterinary Committee in Brussels, on Wednesday, decided to allow lamb to be exported from Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

The two regions were the only area of Scotland where foot-and-mouth was detected and were excluded from an order lifting the ban on lamb exports from the rest of the country two weeks ago.

European ministers have already voted to allow exports of beef and pig meat from Scotland to resume, but lamb is the most significant meat product, accounting for 70% of overseas exports.

The only export ban still in force is on venison from Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

Rural development minister Ross Finnie
"This has been a very long, hard fought battle"
See also:

06 Nov 01 | Scotland
Scottish lamb exports to resume
02 Nov 01 | Scotland
British meat exports resume
28 Sep 01 | Scotland
Foot-and-mouth restrictions eased
11 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scotland free of farm disease
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