Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Exports blocked by Tb restrictions"

Farmers Guardian reported this week the frustrations of Lincolnshire cattle breeder Michael Read , who has had semen orders from his Lincoln Red bull 'Anwick Chancellor' blocked for export to Australia .

We have referred to the block on exports breeding bulls and semen before on this site, as a 'benefit' of being under movement restriction. If a bull supplying semen or a cow supplying embryos for export has been on a holding which has had a Tb 10 movement restriction imposed, then the export market is blocked.

One of Mr. Read's cows tested inconclusive at a routine test in the spring of 2004, and a movement restriction was imposed on the whole farm for TWO days while Defra officials sorted out the paperwork for the single animal. The herd restriction was then lifted and re-issued to the single cow who was isolated and then retested at 60 days. She was clear.

Defra officials confirmed that under EU legislation, if an animal has been on a farm which had been the subject of a Tb movement restriction, they could not issue export licenses.

They explained that if the animal in question had arrived after the restriction had been lifted, been away during it or was only going to be used for the UK market then a license could be issued, but an export license would be blocked by the restriction notice which covered the time the animal was on the farm in question

We have seen this situation before in the contract mating arena, where top class UK genetics are deliberately chosen to produce a bull calf for a semen company with the hope ultimately of world wide sales. Several of these highly expensive operations have been jeopardised by the imposition of Tb movement restrictions on the main holding of birth, even though the calf in question has been reared in an isolation or quarantine unit. The hours he was with his dam after his birth, was enough to block the export - and render him worthless.

Mr. Read summed up the situation as "Crazy". He concluded " This is a market which has been closed to us for the best part of 10 years. There are breeders in Australia, New Zealand and many other countries who are desparate for Lincoln Red semen. It is an idiotic situation, that we are unable to meet that demand".

Great Britain used to be the 'Stockyard of the World" but under the stewardship of first MAFFand then Defra and with the aid of 'gold plated' EU directives, it has now become its Graveyard.

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