NFU CYMRU president Peredur Hughes claims that Welsh farmers have reached breaking point over the disposal of fallen stock.”
The national scheme appears to be working reasonably well in other parts of the UK, but we believe that things are so bad in Wales that many farmers have started burying animals again,” Mr Hughes told farmers weekly.
“I genuinely fear for the mental health of some of the desperate people, especially from north Wales, who contact me daily. I am not exaggerating when I say that there are thousands of sheep awaiting collection longer than 48 hours, and the issue is now totally monopolising my time.
“Farmers have tried to support the scheme, but the necessary infrastructure is not in place, and cannot be created quickly enough. This is a real crisis and we have asked the Welsh Assembly to press the government to seek an EU derogation to allow fallen stock to be buried.”
Mr Hughes claimed the government had failed to meet its obligation to ensure that farmers had the means to obey the EU regulation. “I want to make it clear that we are not attacking the scheme, or the National Fallen Stock Company and its contractors, who are trying hard to make it work. We always warned that we would be in deep trouble at the height of the lambing season, and that is exactly what has happened.”
Michael Seals, chairman of the NFSCo, accepted that there were serious problems in north Wales, and that, in the final analysis, it was government”s responsibility to ensure dead animals were collected within a reasonable time.
Pembrokeshire farmer Philip Hinman is threatening to move a pile of rotting dead sheep to the top of his farm lane, where they could be seen by the public, and put up a large notice explaining why.
After two weeks of failing to get the stock collected he says some contractors are no longer answering their phones.
“We have contacted our local Trading Standards Office to seek dispensation to bury them, but they told us no,” Mr Hinman claimed.