MEPS Launch Plan For Ban On Brazil Beef Imports

04 September 2007
A complete ban on Brazilian Beef imports has been proposed today by five MEPs representing farmers across all parts of the UK and Ireland.

The proposal put forward by Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith follows evidence from the Irish Farmers Association that showed current controls on Brazilian beef standards to be failing.

The IFA raised concerns over Foot and Mouth disease, the use of growth hormones and the lack of traceability of the Brazilian beef herd.

Mr Smith's written declaration is co-sponsored by Jill Evans (Wales), Mairead McGuinness(Ireland East), Jim Nicholson (Northern Ireland) and Neil Parish (South West England).

Speaking at a press conference to launch the declaration Mr Smith said:

"We have strict animal health standards for a reason and they must be adhered to. The recent Foot and Mouth outbreak in England showed how strict European controls are and how hard our farmers work to ensure beef herds are healthy and traceable at all times from field to fork.

"The immediate ban imposed on animal movement in Scotland, England and Wales was a necessary and important response and helped ensure the outbreak was contained. In Brazil there is no evidence of similar controls being used or enforced.

"Until all parties have confidence that animal health measures are in place across the country, are adequately monitored and strictly enforced a ban is the only way to be sure the meat we are eating in Europe is safe. I believe a total ban is also the only way the Brazilian authorities will ensure these standards are met.

"The evidence collected by the IFA was a damning indictment of animal health measures in Brazil. Tags were removed, animals were moved across regional borders to allow them to be sold, vaccines were dumped and there was evidence of illegal animal growth hormones being used. These cattle then end up slaughtered and sold in Europe.

"When the IFA and Scottish Beef Cattle Association gave evidence to the Parliament's Agriculture committee they won overwhelming support. It is unfortunate that the Commissioner for Public Health does not yet see this issue as we do."

ENDS

Note to Editors

The five MEPS led by Alyn Smith (SNP) have lodged a written declaration in the European Parliament. If the declaration receives support from 50% of MEPs is will be adopted by the Parliament and sent to the Commission for action. The Commission must then investigate and report on the issues raised.