I READ with a touch of despair the article headlined “Ministers look at egg industry cages ban” (Apr 3). Having successfully alienated the nation’s landlords, of both the home letting and public house variety, the Scottish Government has now set its sights on egg farmers and consumers.

It has announced a consultation on outlawing the use of cages to house hens involved in egg production. Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie (below) MSP said if that it was implemented, Scotland would be “leading the way in improving the welfare of animals”.

Apparently there are still more than one million chickens in Scotland kept in enriched cages which provide birds with more room to nest, roost and scratch than the former small battery cages.

The National: FArmer and politician Jim Fairlie MSP

A supermarket visit will inform you that eggs from caged hens sell for around 13p each. This is around a third of the price of free-range, possibly organic eggs from so-called happy hens packed in bright yellow recycled cardboard boxes sold at around 38p each.

I suspect the eggs from caged hens are used in a multitude of food products, all of which will no doubt increase in price as a direct result of this proposed government decree.

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Mr Fairlie apparently went on to say that the Scottish Government’s most recent Programme for Government had included commitments “to improve the welfare of laying hens to ensure their confinement does not negatively impact their normal behaviours”.

Is there no similar commitment to those folk who struggle to feed themselves and their children and who do not earn around £100,000 as government ministers do?
John Baird

“THE multinational salmon farming industry privately lobbied the Scottish Government at least 20 times in the last year, calling for regulations to be relaxed, consents to be streamlined and companies to be given public subsidies.” This is the summary of The Ferret’s article published on Wednesday. It shouldn’t surprise anyone.

I wonder if minister Mairi Gougeon (below) is enamoured with her description as a “tireless champion of Scottish salmon” by Salmon Scotland CEO Tavish Scott?

The National: Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon

Perhaps she is, and is trying to outdo her predecessor, Fergus Ewing, who similarly had many meetings with industry representatives over a period of four years, all apparently without minutes.

It is clear from the public record that the Scottish Government has had this industry’s “back” for years.

Despite this, the industry feels the need to keep up this constant lobbying. Remarkable. Perhaps it is feeling under pressure.

Meanwhile, in 2022, five local newspapers in Scotland refused to accept adverts criticising the caged salmon industry.
Roddie Macpherson

ALAN Crocket, in his Long Letter of April 1 under the heading “The SNP’s road map will lead head-first into a brick wall”, made an effective and compelling critique of the SNP’s strategy of winning the majority of seats at the General Election as the way to secure independence.

He lays it out in rational and concise terms when he says “the Scottish people can express their wish in an official, formal, democratic and legal process and Scotland can act on that wish if it is in favour of independence. The only such process available in Scotland is a General Election”.

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What is required is a democratic mandate from the Scottish people given by a majority of votes (50% + 1). The SNP have not spelled out in any meaningful way why they do not agree with what is being called for in Alan Crocket’s letter viz a de facto referendum.

It is true to say that this issue has been raised before by correspondents in The National, and reflecting on its importance it behoves the SNP leadership to respond by detailing how they expect to achieve independence via the strategy they have adopted and explain what will happen if they do not secure a majority of Scottish seats at the General Election – and even if they do how will that enable them to demand negotiations on independence with a UK Government from a minority position in a UK Parliament.
John Milligan

ANENT the article on the “mysterious” death of Willie McRae (Highland events hopes to bring fresh attention to death of McRae, Apr 4). The Scottish Republican Socialist Movement (SRSM) used to combine the Wille McRae Memorial, with coaches, after the annual Arbroath rally, which is being organised this year for Sunday at 1pm, from Kings Gate at Arbroath Harbour, by the Dundee George Mealmaker’s Commun of the SRSM. Mealmaker was a leading United Scotsman.

The McRae Memorial Cairn has been neglected since Covid, which has changed everything, including attendances at such events. All are welcome at both events this Sunday and will be mentioned by speakers.
Donald Anderson