The National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) is warning sheep farmers not to take any chances on fallen stock disposal this lambing season, after a spate of high profile stories in the media has left local authorities more aware of the issue, and more minded to take action against those responsible for illegal carcass disposal.
In the worse case the rotting carcasses of more than 200 dead sheep were dumped in three separate ravines in Wales. It is thought the animals were disposed of by someone running an illegal collection scheme. Prosecution are now being sought.
In other recent cases a farmer who left 17 rotting sheep and lamb carcasses on his land so he could bait and shoot stray dogs and foxes was fined £4,500; a Burnley farmer who let 16 sheep and cow carcasses rot in her fields was fined a similar amount, and a third farmer caught with rotting sheep carcasses and unregistered cattle on his farm was spared jail. Magistrates imposed a twelve-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, together with a six-month supervision order. The farmer was also ordered to pay £1,165 costs. After the hearing, the farmer was reported to have said: "This is a wake-up call for all sheep farmers."
Says Michael Seals, chairman of NFSCo: “Under the animal by-products order all livestock farmers must dispose of their stock through recognised, proper channels. The UK has an excellent network of efficient collectors who do a fantastic job, and there is an organised system of facilitating and paying for collections through the National Fallen Stock Scheme. We are all here to help farmers dispose of their fallen stock easily, quickly, and as cost effectively as possible. The disposal of fallen stock does cost money, admittedly, but the cost is very reasonable compared to the risks of being fined, and possibly jailed.”
In the event of a farmer being unable to trace all his dead stock movement details during any check or inspection the NFSCo administration office and its website can be accessed to provide proof of proper disposal. Joining NFSCo costs a one off payment of just £10. For that farmers are then supplied with a list of collectors in their area, a price list to enable cost comparisons, and an easy mechanism for paying.
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