24 October 1997

TRANSPORTATION to abattoirs is one of the key areas where lamb cleanliness could be improved.

So said Mike Owen, an ex-meat inspector and abattoir technical manager, at last weeks NSA south-east region AGM, held at the Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berks.

"Trailers and lorries with more than one deck are the main problem. Often, you open the door and the sheep on the bottom deck are wet with urine and covered in faeces."

This adds to concerns of dirty livestock, said Mr Owen. "Fleece is like a sponge, everything sinks into it. Straw will help cleanliness, but no matter how good the slaughterman and plant, dirty sheep pose a great risk."

Tescos safety, welfare and quality assurance manager, Arthur Haddrell, said the company was concerned about dirty livestock and transport.

"The Meat Hygiene Service is rejecting massive numbers of animals, and transport is our next project. We will upset people and we will be hard."

Producer club manager Chris Ling said that under its code of practice, once animals were on the lorry they were the drivers responsibility. But that was rejected by ex-FABBL chairman Gerald Cowen, who pointed out that neither the law or Road Haulage Association agreed with that, and that animals remained the owners responsibility during transport.

But Mr Haddrell said that hauliers who were not prepared to work with Tesco and meet their requirements would not be used. "The law is one thing, but we can apply pressure where we want to see improvements."

lMore on dirty livestock and hygiene on-farm next week.

Good transport, cleaner lambs