26 February 1999

MHSstands firm on clips

MEAT Hygiene Service officials have refused to bow to farmer pressure and allow dirty beef cattle to be clipped in abattoirs after slaughter.

Recent publicity about the dangers farmers face when clipping live animals bellies on farm before the cattle can be sent to the slaughterhouse prompted the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers to ask the MHS if the procedure could be done in abattoirs.

But the MHS said there was likely to be an unacceptable risk of carcasses being contaminated. "We were told that the operation would not be sanctioned within any Scottish abattoir," said SAMW president Alan Kirkwood.

"We were told that there would be an additional risk of airborne pathogens being released through such an operation."

He added: "While as an association we sympathise with the difficulties of belly clipping live animals, the potential to move the process inside an abattoir isnt feasible. It would also be a damaging backward step for our industry which has made substantial investments throughout the past three years to establish supreme hygiene standards within Scotlands meat plants."