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Vet Strike May Halt Livestock Procurement

31 January 2001

Farmers Warned Vet Strike May Halt Livestock Procurement

Federated Farmers NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Chairman Chris Lester warned farmers today that strike action by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Verification Authority (VA) veterinarians was likely to disrupt saleyard and meat company livestock procurement.

MAF Verification Agency veterinarians have given notice of industrial action in support of a 12% salary increase, together with substantial increases in allowances, shift rates and additional benefits, such as fully paid lunch hours. MAF VA vets say that they will strike for the first three hours of every shift from 3 February to 22 February 2000, and from 23 February to 6 March 2001 they will withdraw all verification services. Verification is essential to certify meat for export.

"Disruption to processing looks very likely at this stage. Farmers planning to send livestock to the freezing works or to sale with the intention of selling to meat processing companies must keep in close contact with their meat processing company buyer or agent," warned Mr Lester.

At this time of the year many farms will be heavily stocked in readiness to supply lamb for the European Easter trade. Farmers, particularly those in summer dry areas, will have to carefully manage remaining feed and water. Those in drought-prone areas such as the East Coast may already be facing feed shortages.

"Export meat processing companies are unlikely to continue procuring livestock if they can't slaughter and process it. Farmers need to be mindful when sending stock to sales over the next few days that meat processing companies may not be buying in their usual quantities."

"Call your stock agent or meat company buyer and make sure they can take your stock before loading it onto the truck. There's no point loading and trucking your stock only to have to have it carted back," concluded Mr Lester.

ENDS


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