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Stackyard News Jan 2010

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    Union Views Scottish Cattle Clipping Abattoir Trial

A group of Scotland’s leading livestock producers have visited Anglo Beef Processors’ (ABP) Perth plant to view ongoing trials looking at the possibility of clipping cattle post-slaughter as an alternative to clipping the animals live on farm.


beef cattle

The NFU Scotland Livestock Committee visit to ABP Perth follows on from a previous visit to similar on line facilities already installed at ABP’s abattoir at Shrewsbury. The ABP trial at Perth is currently the only work in this area being carried out in Scotland.

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 injured each year while getting their animals ready for the abattoir. NFU Scotland has been looking at alternative solutions and supports developments in on-line clipping facilities.

NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman, Rob Livesey said:

“The requirement for farmers to supply clean cattle into abattoirs means that many are injured each year as they clip their cattle pre-slaughter in order to comply with this. The availability of a post-slaughter clipping facility at abattoirs would reduce the risk of injury to farmers and animals, it would ensure that animals arrived at the abattoir less stressed and that meat eating quality would be improved.

“We would favour the introduction of such on line facilities into abattoirs in Scotland. This would not be seen as a green light to producers to start consigning dirty cattle as farmers would still be obliged to consign their cattle to abattoirs in as clean a condition as possible.

“On line clipping would, however, 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 on farm because of the acute risk of serious injury.

“We are delighted that ABP are continuing to look at the potential role that on-line clipping may have and have allowed us to visit their site. We could see for ourselves how they could, in the future, successfully integrate a belly-clipping component into their Perth production line and we hope that the trial at the ABP site will encourage similar practices to be examined at all Scottish abattoirs.

“If the costs to farmers of paying for this service are fair and the system works well at the Perth, I believe this could present an opportunity for abattoirs in Scotland to increase food quality and hygiene standards while providing a service to farmer suppliers. This would come at a time when many plants are desperate for higher throughput of cattle.”

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