LAST week Boris’s Brexit Batman, Gove, announced £500 million had been set aside to buy slaughtered lambs as part of the No Deal “planning”. Although we have predicted this for over 3 years, it appears that the UK Government have just worked out that No Deal means no market for UK lamb.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) now know that it would take a minimum of 6 months for the UK to be certified as an export partner by the EU.

Even if this is approved, tariffs on lamb and beef are likely to be around 40% and 80% respectively, making it too expensive for any market.

No Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) has been negotiated or secured, although it’s difficult to work out why the EU wouldn’t just allocate all the TRQ to New Zealand and Australia.

Appallingly, it seems we have added stockpiling dead lambs to the required stockpiles of vital medicines, processed food and manufacturing parts.

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Stockpiles of beef cattle are presumably also being presented as a rational solution to an insane proposition.

It’s simply sickening.

And at present there is no articulated plan about how to deal with the meat.

It can’t be butchered and frozen because frozen storage is almost at capacity. It probably can’t be sold into the halal market. The brave new markets the Brexiteers boast about aren’t quite ready. For example, we can look at Japan.

Japan annually imports 24,000 tonnes of lamb, mainly from Australia and New Zealand. We produce 100,000 tonnes of lamb for export every year. Go figure.

It is now time for us to stop this insanity.

We have frictionless free trade with the EU now. Frictionless free trade is exactly what is being ripped out of Scotland’s hands with No Deal or May’s Deal. Or even worse, the really, really bad deal we have to negotiate the day after No Deal.

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The EU market is 8 times larger than the UK market for Scottish farmers and producers.

Now is the time to paint a compelling picture of future farming in an independent Scotland.


  • As an independent member of the EU, our exports will increase.
  • Our domestic market will continue to benefit from the protections of the Common Agricultural Policy.
  • We will be protecting family farms, strengthening our local food supply chains and getting more local food into our schools, hospitals and care homes.
  • We will be diversifying our production, growing more horticultural crops and increasing our food security.
  • We will have introduced the right to food and our social security system will be ensuring that children and families in Scotland are no longer food insecure.
  • EU nationals will still be working on our farms, in our abattoirs and in our hospitality businesses
  • We won’t just be exporting commodity products, we will be adding value here.

And last, but not least, no one knows better than farmers about the climate emergency. Farmers work in the weather every day, they know there’s a problem. So, we wi work with farmers to contain emissions below 1.5 degrees through agroecological approaches.

All of this is worth fighting for and our food producers need us to fight for it. Paying our farmers to stop farming isn’t a tolerable future. The imminent General Election gives us a chance to choose a better future for food and farming in Scotland. Let’s make sure every farmer sees a better future in an independent Scotland.

Heather Anderson is a food campaigner and farmer