No progress on Brazil beef

TWO years ago to this very day a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was, after weeks of suspicion, confirmed in three provinces in Brazil, one of the world's leading beef-producing countries, with a cattle population of more than 200 million - Scotland has just 1.9 million head.

The news broke at Anuga in Cologne, the world's largest food fair. The Scotsman was at Anuga, as it will be over the early part of next week.

The farming press immediately made for the massive Brazilian pavilion, only to be told that the situation was under control and that there was no need for concern.

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That blandishment now appears to be nothing more than that - and FMD is still rife. What is of real concern is that the EU is still allowing imports from Brazil, some of which are undoubtedly sourced in the three allegedly banned provinces. The irony from the perspective of the UK, and especially Scotland, is that exports of beef to mainland Europe since early August have been subject first to a total ban and, as of next week, modestly relaxed restrictions.

Last year, Brazil exported 333,000 tonnes of beef to the EU, of which 30,000 tonnes landed in the UK. In May a delegation from the Republic of Ireland visited Brazil. The findings are on the record: "The mission found evidence of non-existent, or totally unreliable cattle traceability, widespread illegal removal and cutting out of ear tags, totally inadequate movement and border controls, ineffective FMD eradication measures and the use of hormone growth promoters. Based on the evidence found, the European Commission must immediately impose a total ban on all imports of Brazilian beef into the EU."

This week Alyn Smith, a Scottish National Party MEP, again called on the EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, to impose a precautionary ban on imports from Brazil amid rising concerns over animal welfare.

Kyprianou, clearly aware of the level of concern in the UK and Ireland, said: "I will not hesitate to take any measure, regardless of the effect on trade internally or externally, if there is any risk to animal health in the EU."

Kyprinaou conceded that the EU's Foreign Veterinary Office (FVO) had made a number of inspections and remained unhappy with the implementation of the rules in Brazil. However, he was unwilling to go any further than announce that the FVO would make three further inspections during November.

Speaking after discussions with Kyprianou, Smith said: "The commissioner is clearly taking this seriously, but I intend to keep up the pressure. He clearly agrees that Brazil has deficiencies, but is not currently minded to introduce a ban. But we cannot have one rule for Scottish farmers and another for the Brazilians."

John Bryan, chairman of the Irish Farmers' Association's livestock committee, was a member of the visit to Brazil in May. His views have not changed in the succeeding months. "It is a scandal that the EU is still importing beef from Brazil," he said.

During their trip Bryan and his colleagues spoke to Professor Augusto Pinto, an internationally respected animal health scientist. Pinto said: "There is no political will to introduce traceability. We have a large number of cattle which have gone wild and three million buffalo that show no clinical signs of FMD but can pass it on to cattle on ranches."

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Australia, the US, Japan and South Korea have a total ban on imports of beef from Brazil. Russia has a limited ban in place.


WOOLER - John Swan sold 535 Suckled Calves. All Classes sold readily, above expectations and short of requirements. The Champion Charolais Cross went to S Shell & Sons, Brandon with a Heifer which scaled 438kg and realised 590 to the Judge J Allen Esq, Longnewton. Champion Continental Cross went to a Blonde Cross Steer for Messrs R W & K Telford, Branton Eastside which scaled 398kg and realised 610 to J Allen Esq, Longnewton.

Steers averaged 121p per kg; Heifers averaged 110.6p per kg. Also 117 Ewes, 249 Gimmers and 11 Rams. The depressed sheep trade continued into the store ring, with like centers nationwide all classes realising a hesitant demand. Ewes Per Head: Suff.x. to 36 Rothill 4 crop fully warranted. Mule to 32 Rothill 4 crop fully warranted. Gimmers Per Head: Suff.x to 75 Fawdon Farms. Mule to 60 Fawdon Farms, 58 Barmoor Ridge. Texel Rams: 300, 200 Blackadder Mains, 200 (x2) South Ditchburn.

LONGTOWN - The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart P.L.C. had forward 3,165 store lambs at its weekly sale. More buyers were present and keener with trade 2 up on the last sale. Top of 33 for Suf; B'tx 32; Tex 32; Chev Mule 27; GF 26.20; BF 22; Sw 18. The 1,456 Hill Cheviots were a lot dearer to a top of 31.

LONGTOWN - Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart held its Annual Sale of Greyface Mule and Continental Ewe Lambs, together with breeding ewes & shearlings. There were forward 7,257 head. Ex Blackface - 1st prize and Champion Mr John Nicholson, Old Police House, Roadhead; 2nd prize Wanwood Partners, Wanwood Hill, Alston. Ex Swaledale - 1st prize T Davidson, Bellmount, Irthington; 2nd prize JT James, Midtodhills, Roadhead; 3rd prize - D&P Roddam, Fordlands, Hethersgill. Top prices were 70 Old Police House, 68 Bellmount, 62 Midtodhills, 56 Bailey Mill and Fordlands. Shearlings sold to 74 for Texels from Baltier, others 63 The Gall; Greyface 66 The Gall.

STIRLING - Caledonian Marts had forward 4,744 store lambs and feeding sheep. Store lambs (4,240) to 32.50 for SuffX from M Cameron, Spittalhill. Feeding ewes (504) to 16 for Mule from Drimsynie Estates. Store lambs: SuffX - Spittalhill 32; TexX - Craigmad 31; Cont - Craigmad 30; Cha - Glenfinglas 28.50; Mule - Springfield 26.80; BF - Edentaggart 23. Feeding ewes: Mule - Glenorchy 15; BF - Drimsynie 12.20; BFX - Bridge 10.

STIRLING - Caledonian Marts. Bullocks (681) averaged 115.3p per kg (no change) to 161.5p per kg for a 260kg Charolais from Murrayshall, Stirling and to 700 gross for a 530kg Charolais from Baluskie, Barrhill. Heifers (524) averaged 107.7p per kg (no change) to 134p per kg for a 440kg Limousin from Camreggan, Girvan and 660 gross for a 440kg Limousin from Camreggan, Girvan.

OBAN - Caledonian Marts. Bullocks (617) averaged 132.6p (no change) to 171p for seven 190kg Limousins from Airds, Ardfern and to 600 gross for a 550kg Sim from Portramsay, Lismore. Heifers (488) averaged 116.7p (no change) to 165p for a 430kg Limousin from Ferlochan, Benderloch and to 710 again for a 430 Limousin from Ferlochan.

MULL - Caledonian Marts. Bullocks (247) averaged 307 per head to 550 for four Limousin x from Kentallen, Aros. Heifers (156) averaged 271 per head to 320 for three Limousin x from Creich, Fionnphort.

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