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Unions agree on future of CAP and Mercosur


Livestock representatives from the UK and Irish farming unions have agreed they will continue to work together to secure a strong and fully funded Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) following a meeting in Edinburgh.

The regular meeting, which involved members and staff from NFU Scotland, NFU, NFU Cymru, the Ulster Farmers Union and Irish Farmers Association, also condemned Europes decision to re-open trade talks with South America and expressed concerns about the impact that such talks could have on the UK and Irish livestock sectors.

The visit, which also took in the Scotsheep event near Stirling, was hosted by NFU Scotlands livestock committee chairman Rob Livesey.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: There was a commitment from this group that we will continue to work together to secure a strong and fully funded CAP budget which is essential for the livestock sector in the context of the debate on CAP and Single Farm Payments (SFP) post-2013. The farm organisations across the UK and Ireland were very clear that the SFP must be fully protected and paid to active livestock producers going forward.

The UK unions and the IFA also expressed total opposition to the recent decision by the EU Commission to reopen trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The European livestock sector needs the full support of the EU Commission to meet the challenges of climate change and food security across Europe. Re-engaging in these negotiations is contradictory to EU agricultural policy, which demands, amongst many things, that producers farm with increasing efficiency in order to reduce the effects of climate change whilst producing meat to the highest of animal health and welfare standards.

Allowing an increase in beef imports from Brazil and other South American countries compromises the demands placed upon European farmers. It is unfair to farmers and consumers that meat may be imported from out with the EU where the same standards are often not met. In addition, South American production fails to meet EU standards across the important consumer issues of traceability, food safety, animal health and environmental controls. European consumers expect safe, affordable food produced to the highest environmental and animal health standards and UK and Irish livestock producers deliver on this demand consistently.

The farm organisations are committed to working closely together on the ongoing issues covering all areas of livestock farming. By organising these meetings, we can ensure that we work most effectively together in achieving the best possible outcome for UK and Irish livestock farming.

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