Geoffrey Cox calls on the Government to consider the impact on dairy farmers’ ability to sell their calves if it goes ahead with its proposal to withdraw operating licences for approved finishing units with grazing in culling areas.
The Government’s proposal to withdraw operating licences for approved finishing units with grazing in culling areas is causing great concern to dairy farmers in the south-west. Has the Minister assessed the impact that that measure will have on dairy farmers’ ability to sell their calves, and generally on the market for livestock in the south-west? I urge him to think carefully about it before introducing it.
I can reassure my hon. and learned Friend that I consider such issues very carefully. Approved finishing units do have an important role to play as we try to tackle the long-term challenge of bovine tuberculosis, but if we are trying to roll back the disease, the risk associated with grazing on approved finishing units is greater. It is still possible to have a licence for housed finishing units, and there will still be finishing units in other areas where there is no cull.