Bishop Calls for Boycott of 'Sinful' Beef from Brazil

Article excerpt

Byline: By STEVE DUBE Western Mail

A leading churchman has warned that the dairy industry in Wales may become extinct. The Bishop of St Davids, Carl Cooper, called for urgent action for changes in farming, warned that more and more rules and regulations were demoralising farmers and crippling the industry and called for a boycott of 'sinful' Brazilian beef.

The bishop spoke out as one leading farmer warned that he would shut up shop if he was still unable to make a profit out of beef in two years.

National Farmers' Union vice-president Meurig Raymond said the new Single Farm Payment freed farmers from producing food that did not pay.

'Farmers are businessmen and if supermarkets want our quality produce then they must tell us, and we can then make business decisions about our future,' he said.

Bishop Cooper spoke out about the farming industry as guest speaker at NFU Cymru's Carmarthenshire county conference.

He said recent surveys showed morale in the agricultural industry at an all-time low - as low as when the foot-and-mouth epidemic struck in 2001.

'Carmarthenshire was once a county that was proud of its dairy farming history but we now hear of more and more dairy farmers going out of the industry,' he said.

'Those of us who represent rural communities must start to ask questions otherwise there is a real fear that this industry will be extinct.'

TB in cattle was a huge threat and many holdings were on stop, unable to sell their cattle through the live market. That meant more stock on the farm in need of winter fodder. Meanwhile many cattle culled as TB suspects were later discovered to be healthy.

Bishop Cooper continued, 'Is it any surprise that the dairy industry is dying when a farmer gets approximately 16p for a litre of milk, and yet when I go to the supermarket to buy a litre I pay 62p?

'The current price of a Holstein bull calf in Carmarthen mart is pounds 1 and yet you cannot buy an ear tag for that animal for less than pounds 4. …