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NSA calls for urgent action to protect UK sheep industry
"There are a number of steps that are immediately essential and cannot be put off until October" - Phil Stocker, NSA.
Lamb exports account for 96 per cent of the total export market

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is calling on the government to take urgent action to protect the immediate future of the UK sheep industry.

The call comes amid rising concern over a no-deal Brexit, which the NSA has repeatedly called to be avoided. High volumes of UK lamb are currently exported to the EU, accounting for 96 per cent of the total export market.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker, said: “NSA has repeatedly called for a no-deal or disorderly Brexit to be avoided at all costs and we are hugely alarmed by the rhetoric of Boris Johnson and his new cabinet in recent days – even though this may be part of a negotiating tactic.

“Such a scenario would be disastrous for our industry at any time, but late October is when a huge peak of UK lamb will be reaching the market.”

He continued: “If in the event of a no-deal Brexit we lose EU access for UK sheepmeat, even for a few months, then a plan is needed now to ensure farming and supply chain businesses do not go under, that capacity and confidence is maintained so we can still operate once market access is restored, and that the disruption is as short-lived as possible.”

“There are a number of steps that are immediately essential and cannot be put off until October. In the event of an acrimonious no deal we could still be in a position where access to the EU is entirely closed. If not, then tariff relief is our preferred option to keep the market functioning.”

“The NSA also believes steps must be taken to temporarily close the UK to sheepmeat imports while we are unable to export and focus on getting all our production into our own domestic markets. This will not be easy given the huge volumes of lamb that are usually exported, but if plans are put in place now to invest in cold storage capacity then, using public procurement markets such as the armed forces, schools and hospitals, we can make the most of what would otherwise be a catastrophe.

“What absolutely must not be allowed to happen is a mass cull of lambs with no attempt to get them into the foodchain. This would be an obscene waste and would have future capacity impacts for our sector. It can be avoided if the right steps are taken now.”

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk