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Cumbrian farmers could be 'left out in the cold'

August 12, 2008 11:11 AM

Cows on a farm.Yesterday's extension of the bluetongue protection zone to include Lancashire (and all other English counties with the exception of Cumbria and Northumberland) could leave Cumbrian farmers out in the cold, according to local MP Tim Farron.

Cumbrian farmers will now face real difficulty selling their stock outside Cumbria at markets in Bentham and Lancaster, as they will be unable to bring unsold animals back into the 'clean' zone. The situation will also affect local shows - including the Westmorland County Show - which have animals coming from many parts of the country. If the zone is not extended in time, those animals will not be allowed to travel to Cumbria.

Speaking this morning, Mr Farron said: "As things stand, farmers who sell their produce outside of Cumbria are likely to be exploited by buyers as they were last year during Foot and Mouth, receiving poverty prices for their livestock. There is also a serious risk that if the zone is not extended to include Cumbria, then the Westmorland Show will be badly affected. The Government must act quickly to ensure that the protection zone is extended swiftly. I warned the Farming Minister Lord Rooker in May that this could happen, he now needs to take action to prevent a crisis in our farming community."