End Looms for Cattle Collections on Scot Islands

UK - NFU Scotland is appalled that the UK Government is planning to end the collection of fallen cattle on some of Scotland’s most fragile islands and that the cuts could come into force in a few weeks time. NFU Scotland is calling for an immediate suspension of the proposals and demands a proper consultation with the industry on the likely impact of removing this crucial service.
calendar icon 6 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Under current European requirements, the UK Government is obliged to test all cattle over 24-months of age that die on farm for BSE. Throughout the UK, Government currently pays for these animals to be collected, tested and disposed of. On certain islands, this process involves animals being collected, stored, frozen and despatched as a batch to the mainland for testing and disposal with a local collector contracted through the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to provide that service.

The Union understands that the UK Government do not intend to renew those local contracts and has already written to the European Union with a view to ending the collection of such animals on Shetland, Islay, the Uists, Lewis, Tiree and Barra in an attempt to cut its costs. The proposal is to withdraw the service from July 1, 2008 – a few short weeks away.

NFU Scotland also understands that the Scottish Government has not sanctioned this proposal.

NFU Scotland Vice-president Nigel Miller said:

“There is no doubt that the UK Government cuts will drive more costs into remote areas where the costs of livestock farming are already high. We have already spoken to our members on the affected islands and it is clear that this is a valued service.

“The requirement to test fallen animals for BSE is there to underpin the public’s confidence in the safety of our beef and farmers on these islands have been happy to play their part. To remove this service overnight is a slap in the face.

“This penny-pinching approach adopted by the UK Government has come with minimal consultation and little warning for both farmers and those collectors who currently hold the RPA contracts to collect the fallen animals. We have already demanded that the UK Government suspend this proposal and enter into a dialogue with the industry.

“It is likely that a package of measures looking at BSE surveillance throughout Europe will come forward in the New Year. On top of that, both Scottish and UK Governments have already consulted the industry on wider proposals to transfer the costs of BSE surveillance back to farmers. It seems ridiculous that the UK Government is running ahead of both its own timetable and the EU agenda in order to slice a paltry sum from their total BSE surveillance budget and heaping costs on some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged producers.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.