Proposals in two major government consultations on animal transport would have a devastating impact on Scotland’s red meat supply chain, it was claimed yesterday.

Prohibiting transport when external temperature was below five degrees would effectively rule out transport from November to March in Scotland, said Quality Meat Scotland chair, Kate Rowell who heads up the Scottish Red Meat Resilience Group which represents all sectors of the supply chain.

She also pointed out that lack of capacity meant many sheep and pigs born in Scotland were slaughtered south of the border – so both the Scottish and the English legislation would have to be observed.

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The trade in store livestock based around the flow of calves and lambs from upland areas to finishing units on better ground, often via auction marts, was also a vital component of Scotland’s traditional farming systems.

Rowell said that restriction of live exports would also adversely affect the Scottish islands as a significant number of livestock moved to the mainland each year for finishing. According to Scottish Government regional census data for June 2020, nearly 825,000 sheep and 125,000 cattle on Scotland’s islands would be impacted.

“In Scotland we operate under some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world,” added Rowell.

“Our whole-of-life whole-chain assurance schemes, which are supported and approved by the SPCA, Scotland’s independent animal welfare charity, means that farmers, hauliers, auction marts, processors and feed merchants must adhere to standards to ensure the best quality of life for animals throughout the supply chain.”