Industry uneasy as intensive systems take the flak The rapid spread of foot amd mouth disease, many sections of the media have decided, is evidence of the risks in modern intensive farming and meat distribution systems. Organic farming lobbyists were predictably quick to exploit this notion as the crisis developed, but the theme has been picked up by the mainstream media and there are signs of a sympathetic response even from within the government. Quality Meat Scotland md Alasdair Muir tried a rebuttal on Tuesday, pointing out his industry produced beef and lamb in extensive conditions, not intensively; all its livestock sectors operated world class farm assurance schemes; and Scottish consumers had a very high degree of confidence in their farmers and in red meat (94% declaring their intention to continue buying it, according to a survey late last month). Yet within hours of Muir's statement came a hint of how far attitudes his industry fears could be commercially damaging have already penetrated the political establishment. In a BBC TV report from North Yorkshire, trading standards officer Stuart Pudney expressed concern at having to approve the transport of livestock for slaughter outside the so far fmd-free county under the new licensing scheme when "it would make more sense" if the animals were killed at local abattoirs. At least Muir has history on his side, live cattle having been moved hundreds of miles to and from Scotland for centuries, but industry leaders are uncomfortably aware Pudney's sentiments are shared in officialdom. {{M/E MEAT }}