Meat and farming groups join together to voice concern over AHDB’s sale of MLCSL
BMPA along with other key meat and livestock industry bodies have, this week, sent a joint letter to both Jane King, CEO of AHDB and George Eustice, Minister for Agriculture expressing concern over the sale of MLCSL to HallMark Veterinary Services.
Citing a ‘challenging business environment’, AHDB has been pressing ahead with plans to sell-off their independent carcase classification arm and transfer it from public to private sector ownership.
A large proportion of the meat and livestock industry have concerns about how this sale is being brokered and what terms of reference the new oversight body will be operating under. Many feel that AHDB has not consulted sufficiently with those who stand to be most affected, which is why we have asked that the sale negotiations be put on hold to allow industry to bring their needs and concerns to the table.
A large proportion of the meat and livestock industry have concerns about how this sale is being brokered and what terms of reference the new oversight body will be operating under.
The next five years are set to be some of the most turbulent and transformative for a very long time. New technologies will revolutionise how the food chain operates; we’re expecting the introduction of compulsory price reporting for sheep and we’re just at the start of the development of the new Livestock Information Programme.
Commenting on the history of MLCSL, Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association said that the organisation “has, in the past, played a pivotal role in both the introduction and orderly roll-out of new technologies and practices. In its public capacity, it was able to ensure that new technology was not just rigorously scrutinised but was also implemented in a consistent way across the whole industry”. This may not be the case when it becomes a private company.
BMPA and the other co-signatories to the letters are therefore calling for the sale to be put on hold and an industry working group set up to conduct a more inclusive and wide-ranging debate about the needs of industry as well as the challenges AHDB faces in running MLCSL in its current form.
Mr Allen said that “an open consultation will offer up useful insights and solutions that may have been missed up to now. But, more importantly, it will ensure that the future of MLCSL has been shaped, not by short-term commercial expediency, but by the long-term needs of the whole meat and livestock industry”.
It is felt that this will be the best way to shape an independent oversight body that is fit for purpose, has the appropriate terms of reference and serves the changing needs of the industry it is set up to evaluate.
- Nick Allen, British Meat Processors Association (BMPA)
- Chris Mallon, National Beef Association (NBA)
- Zoe Davis, National Pig Association (NPA)
- Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association (NSA)
- Martin Morgan, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW)