NFU Scotland delivered a petition to the door of number 10 Downing Street on Friday calling for full compensation for all those in rural Scotland affected by last year’s foot and mouth outbreak.
The outbreak, which originated from the government-controlled laboratory at Pirbright, Surrey, resulted in a financial crisis in Scotland’s pigmeat and associated sectors. The Scottish government provided emergency aid of around Â£25m (€38m) – a figure which does not even meet a fraction of the losses sustained by farmers and others involved in the industry.
The effects of the crisis are still being felt months later.
NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson, emphasised the seriousness of the crisis stating that “the Scottish livestock industry was shut down for two months at the most critical time of year, the autumn sales.” As the source of the outbreak originated within England’s borders, the organisation feels that the UK government should be obliged to pay some compensation.
“Many in rural Scotland feel that the UK Government has walked away from its responsibilities. Not only has that had a huge financial impact, but it jeopardises the partnership required in future.”
The petition was signed by thousands affected the crisis last year.