Sir, – It was only four months ago that you reported in The Scottish Farmer that at the Port of Dover officials had stopped a total of 22 lorries coming into the country and checked for illegal meat.

Of the 22 vehicles stopped 21 were carrying meat hidden from plain sight and that some of the meat was not refrigerated, one batch being maggoted and another was in a wheely bin taped shut.

I think that we should also be aware that the meat carried in these vehicles may well have originally travelled from countries a lot further away than where these lorries left their bases, it seems clear no that there is no paper trail that would identify 'country of origin.' Countries where serious disease may be commonplace.

The follow up to this also makes grim reading in the recent edition, January 28, the front-page headline, 'Food safety concerns', reminded me that I have lived through two major foot-and-mouth crises, in 1968 and 2001, both of which were caused by infected meat arriving from another country.

Both had devastating an effect on the entire livestock world as many farmed species are susceptible to FMD – cattle, sheep ,pigs, deer, goats etc.

During the time immediately after the 2001 epidemic, there was much talk about the cost to the taxpayer and how it must never be allowed to happen again, that it was a cost the taxpayer should be protected from.

The new political buzzword was 'biosecurity' and how farmers should pay more attention to protecting ourselves from the threat of disease. These words sound very hollow indeed when those uttering them are so completely negligent in the way they regard national biosecurity, not only to the UK's farmed animals but to our wildlife populations as well (wild deer, to name but one species, being susceptible to FMD) .

The Defra spokesperson who championed our very lax biosecurity controls in your article displayed a low level of intelligence if he, or she, didn't understand that any rules that exist in regard to absolutely anything are not worth the paper they are written on if they are not policed and there are no enforcement protocols in place.

Does that Defra spokesperson not understand the world would be free of crime if the written word alone was enough to deter offenders from profiteering from their disobedient intentions?

To say I was disappointed at the stance taken by the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, is putting it mildly. It seemed to me that at least in part they had missed the point of the story.

Yes, I am certain their members adhere to the letter of the law in order to protect their own reputations and businesses, as will the majority of their customers. But in a world of spiralling inflation, some – and it only takes one – small or large businesses may well cut a corner and buy a cheap cut of meat to ensure its economic viability.

Given that the majority of your readers are from a farming background, I feel that having identified the issue, SAMW might have taken the opportunity to press home the fact that this is a situation that needs a robust solution now and with all haste.

The horsemeat scandal of 10 years ago was yet another example that greed and illegal profiteering will create these outrages. There are folk driven by greed who will cut corners and when things go wrong, it is too late, a deadly disease may well have the opportunity to once again ravish the livestock on our farms.

Not only does this impinge on farm businesses, but with restricted access to primestock the abattoir sector comes under increased financial stress, stress it can ill afford in the current economic climate.

Here we have yet another example where our Brexit politicians neglected to understand the implications of leaving the EU and were exceedingly slow at putting in place protocols to restore the safeguards membership gave us.

I am also prompted to ask how much pressure farming organisations are putting on our political masters, reiterating the need to close the door on illegal and possibly disease infected meat from entering the UK; are they raising the issue every time we read something in print in The Scottish Farmer; or are they, as I would hope keeping up a relentless barrage to those in Westminster, pressing them to enforce the rules as a matter of urgency before yet another food scare occurs crippling our businesses and consumer confidence once again?

Hamish Waugh, Effgill, Westerkirk, Langholm, Dumfries-shire.