National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Scottish Ministers ‘not actively’ trying to cut livestock numbers

20th October 2021

The Scottish Government has once more dismissed claims civil servants are planning to reduce suckler cow numbers.

It comes following an open letter to Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon from the National Beef Association‘s chief executive officer Neil Shand.

In the letter, Mr Shand says: “I write to you on behalf of our beef producing members in Scotland, who continue to hear murmurs that civil servants have plans to dramatically reduce suckler herd numbers in Scotland.

“Beef production is the mainstay of the rural community in Scotland, is globally admired and most importantly, uses land that in many cases is not suitable for crop production of any type.”

He called for confirmation from Ms Gougeon that there would not be any further challenges on livestock numbers and said: “It is Government’s duty to provide stability within the industry at a time of upheaval, and we ask for your clarification.”

In response to the letter, a Scottish Government spokesman said ministers had “no plans to actively reduce livestock numbers” in Scotland.

He said: “We have a proud record of supporting and investing in farming and food production and are wholly committed to continuing to support active farming in the future.