UKIP MEP for Wales, John Bufton is disgusted by Europe’s discrimination against Wales.
• Farmers across Wales severely damaged by recent European legislation are being ignored, despite considerable campaigning by farming unions and organisations. John Bufton, UKIP MEP for Wales describes the European Commission’s view of Wales as if “they believe Wales as a nation simply does not count”.
Strict rules governing the Electronic Identification tagging of sheep (EID) are costing farmers thousands of pounds in penalties due to faulty equipment, while legislation on the origin of meat is preventing farmers labelling their produce as Welsh.
Speaking from Brussels Mr Bufton stated: “It is utterly inconceivable that I have been contacted by the Farmers Union of Wales and Hybu Cig Cymru who have both told me that they have been in contact with the Commission over serious problems and have basically been dismissed. Why farmers in Wales are not listened to, while farmers in Scotland, Poland or wherever are better looked after, is a mystery to me.
“I have raised time and again the issue of technological failures in EID to the Commission and in Parliament for a number of years now but the Commission is hell bent on imposing fines on farmers who cannot provide 100% accuracy in their readings, despite this being down to a shortfall in the equipment. Farmers are rightfully beginning to regard this as a deliberate trick by the Commission to make more money. You cannot give farmers faulty technology and then say “give us perfect readings or we’ll fine you”. It is utterly disgusting. I raised these concerns from the beginning and fought hard to get the legislation amended but all cries have fallen upon deaf ears.
“I am equally appalled that farmers in Scotland can label meat born, raised and slaughtered in Scotland as Scottish, but in Wales, meat under the age of 24 months cannot be called Welsh. Why there is a different rule for us is beyond my comprehension. What on earth is a butcher supposed to answer to a customer asking about the origin of their produce? People here are fiercely proud of their nation and like to know they are buying local food, as well as exported Welsh meat being considered some of the best in Europe. With regard to both these issues it’s as if they believe Wales as a nation simply does not count.
“I have put these issues on the table in front of the Commission in no uncertain terms and expect prompt and thorough explanations of why Wales is being ignored. I will pursue every possible means to get these problems rectified. I will shout in Parliament and shout them from the rooftops in Brussels if I have to.”