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Carcass collection scheme in doubt... unless more producers vote "Yes"

by 5m Editor
9 May 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Defra have probably not got a mandate to continue with a national carcass collection scheme. It is unlikely the letter they sent recently to livestock producers has elicited the necessary 50 per cent vote in favour.

Carcass collection scheme in doubt... unless more producers vote "Yes" - UK - Defra have probably not got a mandate to continue with a national carcass collection scheme. It is unlikely the letter they sent recently to livestock producers has elicited the necessary 50 per cent vote in favour.
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There are two reasons… many producers didn't get the letter, and of those who did a good proportion were nervous that signifying approval of the scheme would commit them to use it to the exclusion of any other disposal methods.

But for those who, like Defra, NFU and NPA, are keen to see the scheme succeed, all is not lost. Although Tuesday was the deadline for "votes", Defra will almost certainly accept late responses.

Therefore if you haven't received your letter, you can download a copy now [right click and choose Save Target As], write in your holding number, tick that you support the scheme, and return it to Defra. Copies are also available at NFU regional offices.

NPA's Ian Campbell told yesterday's Producer Group meeting that the exercise had been a flop and "Yes" replies would fall well below the 50 per cent needed.

He accepted the proposal for a national collection scheme had been well publicised… "but if the letter doesn't fall across people's desk it can't trigger a reaction."

NFU's Barney Kay said some livestock producers had been hesitant about replying to the Defra letter because they mistakenly feared they would be legally bound to use the service.

Producers will have a say in how a carcass collection scheme works

Despite the poor response to Defra's recent letter - largely because most producers didn't get the letter - the livestock industry is thought to be generally supportive of a national collection scheme, according to those who are most closely involved.

However there is considerable concern over operational issues, which may have caused some not to tick the "Yes" box.

These concerns may be misplaced because no operational issues have been decided yet. Producer organisations, such as the NPA, will have an opportunity to influence the shape of the scheme - if it goes ahead.

It may not be essential that Defra get exactly 50 percent approval or that they received it by Tuesday May 6 (the deadline) as neither the 50 per cent figure nor the deadline are critical.

But what Defra must see is genuine broad support for a national collection scheme, and this support must be indicated in a timely way so that the planning of the scheme can start.

There is an argument that if half (or thereabouts) of the livestock sector agrees there should be a national scheme, it could be considered that such a scheme is feasible and work on operational details would begin.

There will be a Defra-NFU working group on which the NPA will also have a seat. NPA is already committed to contributing a paper on biosecurity. The pig sector in particular as adamant that biosecurity issues must transcend all others.

  • Even if sufficient livestock producers signify support, it won't be possible to get a national carcass collection scheme up and running before August.

So is burial against the law or not?

May 1 has been and gone… so are you breaking the law if you continue to bury fallen stock?

The short answer is "Yes", because routine disposal by burial has been banned for years. Livestock producers have been fortunate that the law was not strictly enforced.

Burial was only allowed if an animal had fallen in a had-to-get-at place or if the quantity of carcasses and the distance to disposal facilities didn't justify transporting them.

When it comes to the new, unequivocal, and much more controversial Animal By-products ban on burial, the statutory instrument which would implement the EU regulation is still not in place - so it ain't law yet.

In England the Statutory Instrument is expected to be in place by the end of this month. Welsh producers have a longer period of grace; probably until June-July. And Scottish producers get even longer -- around four months.

There is a view that If someone in England were to be prosecuted for non-compliance before the Wales and Scotland bans were in place, the case could crumble in court, but it would be unwise to count on this.

Source: National Pig Association - 8th May 2003

5m Editor