MP calls on government to look again on six day livestock movement rules
South Lakes MP Tim Farron questioned Farming Ministers in the House of Commons this morning about the six day movement rule of livestock and asked the government if they will finally remove it.
Tim asked: "Farmers in Cumbria have their hands tied by excessive restrictions such as the 6 day movement rule - given that 2 years ago the government agreed to all of the recommendations in the MacDonald report, when will farmers see these recommendations enacted?"
Defra's six-day stand-still rule was put in place to reduce the risk of another out-break of foot-and-mouth disease, which devastated agricultural life in the region in 2001 and also struck in 2007. Many farmers believe these rules, which are still in place today, are now outdated.
The rule says 'movements must not take place from any premises where one or more animals have been moved in the six day period prior to the movement', except direct to slaughter. The government commissioned the MacDonald review to look at this matter in 2011. The review recommended more than 200 ways of reducing unnecessary "red tape".
Many farmers in the region believe now is the time to axe the rule in order to help their businesses. Tim is asking Ministers to look at alternatives that will deliver animal safety and help farmers.
Responding to Tim's question, Farming Minister George Eustice MP agreed to meet with Tim and local farmers to discuss the issue.
Tim said: "Considering that we are not currently facing a foot-and-mouth crisis, the six day standstill rule serves absolutely no purpose apart from making life difficult for farmers. I hope that when we meet the Minister we can convince him to urgently look again at this matter.
"If we were to experience a new outbreak of the disease, then it would be essential to have the rule back in order to protect farmers and their animals. However there is no need to have this rule during 'peace-time'."