Shrewsbury Belly Clipping Facility Praised

SCOTLAND, UK - A group of NFU Scotland members returning from their fact-finding visit to Anglo Beef Processors’ (ABP) Shrewsbury plant have hailed their new post-slaughter cattle belly clipping facility.
calendar icon 11 May 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The delegation, made up of North East cattle producers and NFUS staff, made the visit as part of their endeavour to find a way to prevent the serious injuries farmers receive each winter as they try to clip dirty cattle before slaughter in order to comply with abattoirs’ requirements.

Returning from the trip, NFU Scotland’s North East Regional Chairman, Tom Johnstone said: “All those who took part in this visit were surprised at how simple and successful ABP Shrewsbury’s cattle-clipping station is.

“The abattoir’s philosophy behind the introduction of their post-slaughter component is that while they do not want to attract dirty cattle, they appreciate the risks associated with clipping live cattle and that cattle will sometimes arrive at the abattoir in a dirty state. Also, they do not want the requirement of pre-slaughter clipping to be the last straw that pushes their farming customers to stop raising cattle.

“The introduction of the belly-clipping facility was largely uncomplicated and had little logistical impact on the existing line. ABP introduced a section with clippers, which have a suction attachment and a hydraulic platform. The line continues to process fifty beasts an hour and there has been no effect on its speed.

“The group was impressed by how clean the clipping station is because the suction is so effective, and there was no evidence of the so-called aerosol effect, which many in the group believed could disperse hair around the rest of the plant.

“ABP will study the effect on carcass quality next year but they already believe that the system reduces pre-slaughter animals’ stress levels which, in addition to higher welfare levels, also has the potential to improve meat quality.

“We learned that the belly-clipping stage was integrated into the plant’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan with ease and that ABP gained permission from their official vet with little difficulty as well.

“The question of cost was obviously on everyone’s lips and we were reassured to discover that the initial outlay could be recouped in as little as a year. Producers pay £3 per animal clipped and extra staff to carry out the task are reabsorbed in to the business between April and September, when cattle are less likely to need clipping.”

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