6 September 1996

Cull abattoirs rebuked by IB

ABATTOIRS involved in the controversial over 30-month cull have been criticised by the Intervention Board for monopolising the control of cattle through their own agents.

The criticism follows reports sent to the Intervention Board that producers, marketing companies and livestock agents unconnected with the abattoirs were having animals rejected.

In a stern rebuke, the Intervention Board has attacked the practice, saying it was unacceptable and not permitted.

"Cattle may only be entered for the scheme by the farmer who owns the cattle or by an agent acting for the farmer; cattle may not be entered by an agent acting for the abattoir."

Procurement review

The Intervention Board has written to participating abattoirs asking them to review their procurement of animals, adding that slaughterhouses would be eliminated from the scheme if they continued to infringe the guidelines.

There has been concern over the level of sourcing of animals from auction markets, prompting the IB to set abattoirs targets of 50% for clean cattle and 75% for cull cows.

Latest figures show 57% of clean cattle and 68% of cull cows have been sourced by abattoirs, prompting the IB to say it would continue to pressurise slaughterhouses to achieve set targets.

Peter Scott, Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers spokesman, said the issue was becoming more heated because farmers realised the top-up payments on clean beef cattle. &#42