Farmers left high and dry

It is a disgrace that the UK government has reneged on the £8.1 million promised last week to support Scottish crofters and farmers who have been prohibited from selling their cattle and sheep due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak in the south of England (your report, 11 October). Of course, a general election was then in the offing.

The Labour Party at Westminster was quick enough to grab hundreds of millions of pounds of Scotland's share of the Lottery Fund for the London Olympics in 2012. Surely, the Scottish Government has a right to claim not 8.1 million but 16.2 million to help crofters and farmers at their time of need.

It is estimated that as many as 250,000 lambs will need to be culled while thousands more will perish due to starvation on the hillside, while many crofters and farmers struggle to put food on the table. One can hardly believe this can happen in the 21st century under a Labour government, but it has, and it will get worse for us peasants north of the Border.

DONALD J MORRISON, Haig Street, Portknockie, Aberdeenshire

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With 250,000 lambs stranded on hill farms due to foot-and-mouth export restrictions (your report, 10 October), Advocates for Animals would reluctantly accept that the most humane solution may be their slaughter.

However, we believe that as long as animals are being reared for food, a UK market should be found for these lambs. Many people are not aware that the carcasses of these healthy animals are to be incinerated. The destruction of the lambs' bodies, paid for by millions of pounds of taxpayers' money, amounts to a complete waste of their existence, which is surely morally unacceptable.

Lessons must be learned from this costly debacle. With a constantly increasing global threat of farmed animal diseases and subsequent movement and export restrictions, the sheep industry must reassess the policy of rearing any individual animals wholly dependent on an export market.

ROSS MINETT, Advocates for Animals, Queensferry Street, Edinburgh

I am saddened by the announcement that 250,000 lambs are to be destroyed because there is no market for them. It is a sad reflection on our society that their lives are regarded as valueless. Surely the meat can be put to some good use.

MALCOLM ROSS, Smailholm, Kelso, Roxburghshire