"We' re so sorry .... all calves from the previous two months are traced so that they can be tested. As has happened with these animals which have gone to the Netherlands"
Ms. Heywood pointed out that for their part, UK stock breeders do "everything they can to keep this disease under control, but the government refuses to cooperate by dealing with the wildlife source.."
A 'ban' on exports/imports by one member state to another within the EU is illegal, unless it is instigated by the Commission. Thus it is left to Dutch farmers and exporters to vote with their feet on the import of calves, if they feel risk outweighs value. And this has given another industry commentator pause for thought. Ian Potter, in his newsletter (July 18th) seems to think that this 'embarrassing coincidence' the timing of which couldn't be more opportune to put EU pressure on government, is all down to an effort by Dutch importers, or at least one Dutch importer to control his market.
The Dutch desire for complete control of the UK calf export market is turning into nothing short of a ruse leading to questions as to their professionalism and integrity. National newspapers have swallowed hook, line and sinker the news that calf exports from the UK have been banned due to the detection of TB in calves on Dutch veal units. The accurate story is that the Dutch and Belgian veal industry, directed by one particular Dutch importer, have called for a voluntary ban on purchasing calves from the UK. The bottom line is this Dutchman and some of his associates are insisting the delivered price of the calves from the UK is immediately dropped. Although numbers exported are now increasing which will reflect in the price, there are numerous farmers who we deal with who have been exporting since the ban was lifted who in the past two weeks have returned to shooting the calves at birth, which puts more valuable milk in the tanker and not into a worthless calf. If the Dutch want to play games they may just find they have control of an unviable market."
Time tell on this one. Is Mr. Potter saying that calves from the dairy farm, which is now under a confirmed TB restriction, were neither exported, nor traced to Holland? We are also told that gamma bloods were used to check these animals, not the skin test, so just how 'accurate' is the 'positive' result reported in the Dutch paper and which kicked the whole thing off?
The whole scenario is just a bit too much of a coincidence for our liking. And we believe in those like we believe in the tooth fairy. Whatever the root of this story, it's outcome, we will continue to follow with interest.
We have just received a bit more on this story:
* The calves apparantly came from a dairy farm in Worcestershire and were taken to be batched and lairaged, by an exporter in Staffordshire.
* At a Prm test [on older cattle] at the Worcs farm, one reactor was found.
* Whole herd test found 50+ more [including calves] Two cows had multiple lesions including mammary glands.
* Large no. of reactor calves were found to have multiple lesions from drinking mastitic milk from these two.
The exporter's cattle have all tested clear.
(more as we get it.)