Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Barclay Bell, says that DAERA must follow the lead of the Scottish Government and publically back the live export trade. The comments were made following Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing’s, statement this week that the Scottish Government will defend the interests of Scottish agriculture by opposing proposals to ban live exports.
Scotland is very similar to Northern Ireland in that agriculture plays a significant role in the rural economy. “I must commend the Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary for coming out and backing the farming industry,“ said Bell.
In Northern Ireland, the farming industry is heavily reliant on the free movement of livestock both within the UK and also to other EU Member States. Bell said without this trade farmers will undoubtedly be worse off and existing production levels, which support the wider agri-food industry, would be undermined.
“We need a competitive and profitable livestock sector. Any attempts to impose more controls or ban live exports would have a hugely detrimental impact,” said the president.
“The Scottish government has recognised the importance of the free movement of livestock for their farming industry. We need DAERA to do the same. Farmers will not accept the excuse that the department needs a Minister in place to support a live export trade that is based on fair and proportionate regulations,” said Bell.