The Industry Faces the Chop over Standards and Inspections
1. May Day 2009 brought bad news for the Scottish meat industry, which is close to losing "critical mass" in cattle stocks, according to the president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Allan Jess, stating that he is "gravely concerned at the present situation" with supplies "worryingly low." He mentioned some "frightening" data: sheep numbers down by 13.3%, pigs down by 22%, and cattle by 6.9%. Whatever happens to prices in the short term, there can only be one conclusion - namely, the eventual reduction of processing facilities and the scaling down of Scotland's livestock industry.
2. He joined in the torrent of blame heaped on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), which "are not fit for purpose in Scotland and not worth the huge amount of industry and taxpayers' money." (Meat Trades Journal, 01 May 2009). Brian Pack, retiring head of the ANM group (don't ask - we don't know what that stands for, either) suggests his own answer: "I do wonder if the time is not right for some civil disobedience, in that the industry will decide what it's willing to pay, and not pay more."
3. VEGA says: "Better a boycott of the lot by customers defaulting on the true costs of cheap," subsidized meat but settling down to a dish of abstemious bubble-and-squeak in the manner of Gordon Brown's likes and included in our Portfolio of Eating Plans.