Union To Collate Reports Of Cattle Clipping Injuries

UK - National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland is to collate reports of injuries sustained by farmers whilst clipping cattle ahead of sending the animals to market or abattoir for slaughter.
calendar icon 26 October 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The reason for clipping is that farmers are required to present animals in as clean a condition as possible when they are entering the food chain. This occasionally requires dirty hair to be removed from the animals. Clipping cattle on farm before presenting them for slaughter is hazardous and a number of Scottish farmers are hurt each year - including some that are severely injured - while getting their animals ready for selling.

With the support of the Health and Safety Executive, the Union will be distributing an injury report form and encouraging anyone injured while carrying out cattle clipping to fill out and return the form, anonymously if they wish, to NFUS. The Union will then discuss the results with HSE in due course.

As an alternative to clipping on farm, NFUS has supported developments in on-line clipping facilities that would see dirty cattle clipped post-mortem at the abattoir. To date, the only known abattoir in Scotland to have installed on-line clipping facilities is the ABP Perth plant.

NFU Scotland’s Livestock Policy Manager Penny Johnston said: “An unfortunate consequence of the requirement for farmers to supply clean cattle into abattoirs is that many farmers and their staff continue to be injured each year, some seriously, as they attempt the hazardous job of clipping their cattle pre-slaughter on farm.

“The incidence of injuries is generally thought to be under-reported as many hurt worry over logging such incidents with the authorities for fear of follow-up inspections or reprisals. We continue to work with the HSE on the issue and, with their agreement, we will collate evidence of injuries anonymously and present the results to HSE for discussion.

“We would urge any farmers or their staff injured while carrying out cattle clipping to complete our injury form. These will be available from local group secretaries, regional staff, head office and on our website with the completed forms to be sent to us for analysis.

“While cattle clipping on farm is likely to remain a requirement for most cattle finishers this autumn and winter, the availability of a post-slaughter clipping facility at abattoirs would reduce the risk of injury to farmers and animals. NFUS supports the introduction of on line facilities into abattoirs across Scotland as a way of reducing the stress on both farmers and cattle and improving the welfare of man and beast alike. There would also be knock-on benefits to meat quality of such an approach.

“This is not a green light to producers to start consigning dirty cattle to the food chain but would help to address the considerable health and safety concerns around clipping animals live on farm. That is a dangerous job and farmers across the country are crying out for an alternative to clipping cattle because of the acute risk of serious injury.”

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