Call For Rethink As Fallen Stock Tally Jumps

UK - The UK beef industry is losing at least £675,000 a week, or £35 million a year, through what the National Beef Association (NBA) claims is an over-zealous interpretation of the new EU legislation on welfare and transport, introduced in 2006.
calendar icon 24 April 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reveal a 125 per cent increase in cattle moved through the Fallen Stock Scheme (FSS) in 2006, to 204,729 from only 91,079 the previous year.

Robert Forster, chief executive of the NBA, is calling for a "more proportionate" approach to the new legislation. He said: "The increase in the number of casualties from 91,000 to 204,000 is the equivalent of 2,000 cattle per week. Because this represents an enormous sum of money, there should be as much abhorrence of waste as there is of poor welfare.

"The NBA wants farmers, vets and government to examine just how necessary it was for all of the cows in that 125 per cent increase in last year's FSS throughput to take that route and whether some of the cattle could have entered the human food chain instead."

Forster concedes that the State Veterinary Service and the Meat Hygiene Service are right to insist that cows must be fit to travel to an abattoir, but he argues that, with planning, the number slaughtered as casualties could be reduced.

He said: "There should be more discussion between a farmer's vet and the official vet at an abattoir on the condition of an animal before it is loaded onto a lorry. Too many farm vets, and too many farmers, are assuming a cow will not be accepted at an abattoir and so are volunteering to put the animal through the FSS, at a considerable cost to the business, when a phone call could establish which direction a marginal case should be directed."

Source: Scotsman
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