RBST Chief Executive Officer Christopher Price

RBST Scotland aims to give RBST a stronger voice in Scotland, and Scotland a stronger voice in RBST.

Overall, we were encouraged by Scottish Government’s recent announcements. But we still have areas of concern, which we will be raising with them in 2022.

Firstly, the state of the local abattoir network. The livestock sector is changing, with more farmers keeping native breeds and the abattoir sector needs to change too. Too many farmers are having to travel more than 100 miles to reach the nearest abattoir. And even if there is one within a reasonable distance, it still needs to be able cater for small numbers of nonstandard animals and provide private kill facilities.

This shouldn’t require long term subsidy, just short-term investment to enable what remains of the network to meet changing circumstances.

Secondly, Scottish Government’s desire to do more for Scotland’s biodiversity needs to extend to the conservation of native livestock breeds. They were bred for Scottish landscapes. Together they helped create the pastures, mixed woodlands and meadows we cherish. They are also part of Scotland’s cultural heritage, with a major role to play in enhancing local brands and therefore local economies. We expect Government to support our wildlife and built heritage: it should support our livestock heritage too.