2 August 2002

Burial ban is extra cost to industry

PRODUCERS cannot be expected to bear the cost of fallen stock disposal as it is currently proposed, says Stuart Royston, National Pig Association (NPA) chief executive.

"Once on-farm burial is banned under EU legislation next year, producers will have to rely on outlets such as hunt kennels or knackermen to collect fallen stock. This will be an extra expense which many will not be able to afford," he explains.

Plans drawn up by the Licensed Animal Slaughterers and Salvage Association (LASSA) and the UK Renderers Association, at DEFRAs request, outline a national carcass-collection network operated by hunt kennels and knackermen. Under the proposal carcasses would be collected within 24 hours of reporting by producers and either incinerated or sent for rendering.

"We have to find an effective and efficient method of disposing of fallen stock. While many larger producers will be able to put in place on-farm incineration facilities, smaller producers cant justify the expense and so need a service which is affordable," says Mr Royston.

Figures obtained from the NPA show current proposals from LASSA and the UK Renderers Association suggest collection costs of £45/head for cows, £5/head for calves, pigs and sheep and 50p/head for poultry. With an estimated 740 cows needing to be collected every day, this would result in a charge to the industry of more than £12m/year for cattle alone.

The total cost for collecting the 5.9m head of stock required to make the collection service viable will be more than £20m.

"These costs are certainly not cheap and dont account for any profit element which may need to be added if this is to be a commercial operation," he adds.

It is likely that operation of the service will be put out to tender, with one organisation taking on the administration role, although no final decision has been made on this yet. Funding of the service is still to be decided, however, Mr Royston doubts the industry will be able to escape paying somewhere along the line. &#42

&#8226 Burial outlawed.

&#8226 High cost to producers.