4 January 2001
Alliance rails against pithing ban

By FWi staff

SMALL abattoirs are “making their own funeral arrangements” by preparing for European union rules against BSE, the Countryside Alliance has warned.

Pithing – the practice of mashing brains with a rod to prevent stunned animals kicking out after stunning – is set to be outlawed by the Food Standards Agency.

Agency officials have warned abattoirs to prepare for a ban on pithing despite delaying its introduction, due on 01 January.

But Countryside Alliance chief executive Richard Burge said implementing the law would mean buying expensive, new equipment for handling livestock.

It is almost certain that no human lives will be saved by the measure, but people will lose their livelihoods and the quality of food will diminish, he added.

The Small Abattoir Federation has warned that 46 out 48 of its members are threatened by the pithing ban which is designed to reduce the spread of BSE.

Some slaughterhouses will have to spend huge sums on restructuring their premises to make it safe to slaughter animals.

Mr Burge said the ban would render irrelevant money awarded in the governments Rural White Paper to help small abattoirs cope with red tape.