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Action urged on export markets; farming.

THE CLA is calling for Government to address the matter of meat export markets as a matter of urgency.

It says the knock-on effects of the ban are threatening to compromise the short-term viability of the whole industry, not just those who were exporting before the current outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Carole Hodgson, CLA North assistant regional director, said: "UK agriculture is an efficient and forward looking industry which has reached out to become an integral part of the European single market. Because of our reputation for high quality at an internationally competitive price we have built up substantial export markets, indeed many lambs are produced entirely for overseas markets, produced to their specifications and they simply do not have a place in the UK market.

"Now these markets have been closed to us due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak linked to the Pirbright laboratories. This sudden closure has left some processing companies with no market at all. Nationally there is no outlet for hides, and the UK meat market is in danger of spiralling down to collapse if nothing is done to either restart exports as soon as possible, or to prevent the lamb destined for export from flooding on to the home market.

"Of course the main task is to remove the danger of foot-and-mouth, but we would also ask Government to take steps to redress the damage being done to the industry by the export restrictions. Even a small relaxation in some restrictions could make a big difference to the long term future of many farmers and processors."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2007
Words:260
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