Welsh Food Promotions Ltd. was set up more than two years ago with a remit to promote all types of food produced in Wales, including beef. The company works closely with Food from Britain in promoting overseas sales.
My right hon. Friend will be aware of the excellent taste and unique quality of Welsh black cattle. Is he equally aware of the grievous losses suffered by the breeders of Welsh black cattle since the imposition of the ban on exports because of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy scare? Is he aware that Welsh black cattle are fed on natural sources, such as silage in winter and grain in summer? Is he further aware that BSE exists anyway in continental Europe? What can my right hon. Friend do to promote the export of Welsh black cattle to Europe as a valuable earner of deutschmarks?
Of course, I am aware of the difficulties that the restrictions on exporting cattle, put into place as a result of BSE, have brought for many producers, and I sympathise with their position. However, the prohibition on the export of live cattle over six months old applies to all breeds of cattle and as Welsh blacks are among the breed types that have had confirmed cases of BSE, we are not likely to be able to advance the case for special treatment for that breed alone. Although a few cases of BSE have been confirmed in some member states, they are all isolated cases which are linked to feedstuffs imported from the United Kingdom. Exports to other member states are likely to remain restricted for some time yet.