Scottish farmers must sympathise with their 'cousins' in Northern Ireland, who have been disenfranchised from the long-held traditional trading route between the two countries because of the final intricacies of the Brexit deal.

Effectively, Northern Ireland remains part of the EU and now, instead of a border between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland, the effective customs demarcation line is between Scotland and Larne. It is a ludicrous situation that needs to be fixed.

For many years, both Scottish and Northern Irish farmers have traded livestock to the benefit of both. This has now been rendered, to all intents and purposes, impossible by the implementation of 'export' regulations as decided by the EU. Everything from breeding sheep, to bulls and even to poultry have all fallen foul (pardon the pun) of the regulatory process. For instance, it will be nigh impossible for Ulster breeders to exhibit at the Royal Highland Show.

Even this newspaper has suffered at the hands of the bureaucracy of the 'bright new future' and now needs extra 'paperwork' to allow it to cross the short strip of sea between Scotland and Larne. So, if our loyal readership in Ulster has been experiencing delays in getting copies of the paper, then that is the reason. But, at least we don't have to be Maedi-Visna accredited ... or do we?

This will remain a sore that will not heal until some common sense is applied. The loss is much more than just financial – it is also spiritual.

Transport chaos

JUST AS pressing is the need for common sense in the daft animal transport rules emanating from Whitehall that are currently out for consultation.

For instance, had the regulation of animals not being allowed to travel if the temperature dropped below 5°C been applied, then much of livestock trading – in Scotland at least – would have ground to a standstill over large parts of the past six weeks. The supermarket shelves would have been devoid of home-grown meat products, resulting, no doubt, in the stocking of imported meat.

Any sound stock person or haulier will tell you that livestock are rarely bothered by freezing temperatures and as long as the ventilation is properly applied, will be happy as Larry.

And that's before we get to the problem of livestock travelling by ferry from the islands to the mainland of Scotland (as highlighted in our lead page story). The regulations, were they to be applied, would decimate the island economies and fracture the delicate balance of the structure of the entire Scottish red meat industry.

Somebody in government has to kick the majority of these proposals into touch before some bureaucrat in a windowless basement in Whitehall rubber stamps this nonsense. There's common ground here for politicians of all hues to unite together and confound this ill-thought out range of proposals dreamt up by someone with obvious leanings to the more extreme elements' befuddled view of animal welfare.