The January 1st change in the EU hygiene regulations relating
to emergency slaughter continues to be one of the causes of massive
wastage in the number of cull cows entering the food chain on
a cross-UK basis.
Another is the difficulty thousands of breeders, the majority
of them dairy farmers, are still having in shaking off habits
formed during ten years of the OTM Scheme (FSS) when culls were
automatically jettisoned without any thought of their potential
So the National Beef Association which wants to see industry-wide
measures taken to reduce this loss which is conservatively estimated
at an astonishing £48 million, or 30,000-35,000 tonnes,
of beef a year.
"The beef sector cannot afford to see some 2,500 cows a
week, that could be available for commercial slaughter, continue
to slip through the system into the Fallen Stock Scheme (FSS)," explained
NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.
"Even allowing for a modest average value of 60p-65p per
live kilo, or around £370 a head, this represents an income
loss to the industry of £900,000 a week and wastage at
that level is something it cannot afford to ignore."
The Association wants more owners to be made aware of the potential
these animals have to earn money and contribute to a serious
reduction in regular herd replacement costs.
It would also like to raise awareness of the benefits of investing
say £100 in a treatment course to cure lameness - which
is the most common reason for FSS entry.
"But this problem needs to be examined from other directions
too. It may be that some young vets are overcautious about sending
cows that might be considered lame to the abattoir where they
could be rejected," said Mr Burrell.
"There needs to be agreement that if a cow can put her
weight on all four feet when being loaded she should be considered
fit to travel and that the MHS, and others in authority, should
acknowledge, through an agreed protocol if necessary, that some
lameness can appear as a result of a journey."
"We would also like influential dairy consultants to help
more dairy farmers to understand the commercial benefits of their
re-connection with the beef industry after the repeal of the
longstanding OTMS Rule."
"And for an industry group, which should include animal
health companies and vets, to be assembled so it can put over
a co-ordinated message advising dairy farmers that too many cows
directed into the FSS are being wasted.
"In addition to this the NBA will be writing to veterinary
organisations asking if they identify ways of helping to reduce
this extremely high level of wastage."
"It may also be that travel problems could be reduced by
the introduction of more abattoir cover to shorten some journeys," Mr
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