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See pdf file in full - ARK Feature - livestock results

The results are now in for the survey conducted by RBST of livestock members in February 2008 to discover their intentions with regard to the animals they owned.
The survey was taken to assess the impact of recent disease epidemics, the spread of other diseases, increasing bureaucracy and rising feed prices on the burden on owners and breeders of livestock.

Significant numbers of owners of breeds at risk have already dispersed their livestock as the burdens became intolerable.

A substantial sample of 350 members were surveyed of which 288 valid returns were analysed. They were asked to state whether they intended to abandon livestock keeping either in 2008, or within the next three years. Also they were asked which factor(s) they considered responsible for causing them to reach their decision.

The overall results showed:

  • 13% of respondents indicated their intention to abandon livestock-keeping in 2008.
  • 43% of respondents indicated their intention to abandon livestock-keeping in the next three years.

    Within these figures one must allow for natural wastage (eg, retirement through age, etc). The general problem cited was bureaucracy and, in particular, transport regulations accounted for 34% of keepers saying they were going to cease keeping livestock.

    Obviously these results are very worrying and could be disastrous for some of our breeds. Armed with this information RBST will be monitoring the situation and lobbying hard to champion the concerns of native livestock keepers.


    Cattle

    Cattle 111 respondents kept cattle.

    49% expected to abandon livestock-keeping

    in the next three years.

    The main cause was TB (46%), bluetongue

    (30%) and foot and mouth disease.

    Respondents for the most acutely affected

    breed owned 23% of the breed and 72%

    expected to abandon livestock keeping in the

    next three years.

     

    Poultry

    46 respondents kept poultry.

    Only 24% expected to abandon poultry

    keeping in the next three years.

    The low figure is due to small unit size and

    loyalty of owners to their chosen breed. The

    main causes of concern were avian influenza

    (63%) and feed costs (63%).

     

    Pigs

    53 respondents kept pigs.

    53% expected to abandon livestock-keeping

    in the next three years.

    The main cause was feed costs (76%). This

    contrasts with a National Pig Association

    survey which indicated that 95% of pig

    keepers would cease keeping pigs. The

    significant difference is that breeds at risk are

    kept in smaller units than industrial pigs, and

    their owners have a strong sense of loyalty to

    them.

     

    Sheep and goats

    200 respondents kept sheep and/or goats.

    56% expected to abandon livestock-keeping

    in the next three years.

    The main causes cited were bluetongue

    (50%), double-tagging (35%), bureaucracy

    (34%) and electronic ID (32%). Some breeds

    were acutely affected.