MLC issues emergency guidelines
By FWi staff
EMERGENCY guidelines have been issued on moving livestock from areas unaffected by foot-and-mouth disease to abattoirs.
The Meat and Livestock Commission says it has received numerous reports of things going wrong since the scheme got up and running on Sunday (04 March).
Animals transported under licence should go direct from farm to abattoir, unless being taken to a collecting centre, to minimise the disease risk.
On Tuesday (06 March) FWi reported that a Meat Hygiene Service inspector turned back a truckload of stock, contrary to the rules of the scheme.
Meat hygiene officials have admitted the mistake but said operations had been severely slowed up by the time spent disinfecting vehicles.
In an effort to prevent a repetition, the MLC is urging drivers of stock vehicles to carry mobile phones and emergency numbers in case of problems.
The commission also urged abattoirs to take account of the additional time it takes to clean and disinfect lorries and trailers.
Producers must be aware of bottlenecks at abattoirs and not have high expectations during the early stages of the scheme, it said.
Haulage companies must schedule and allow for delays in transit.
But emergency arrangements must be put in place by abattoirs to ensure that meat hygiene staff will be available to handle delayed arrivals.
About 219 abattoirs have now been approved by the MHS to take part in the scheme. But some big abattoirs are worried that the scheme rules are too slack.
The British Meat Federation said some of its members were concerned that animals werent being properly checked for foot-and-mouth.
Some of the biggest slaughterhouses say they will continue importing meat rather than return to killing UK livestock as movement restrictions are eased.
Lamb prices have dropped nearly 60p/kg in some abattoirs since the foot-and-mouth crisis began, to 200p-220p/kg deadwight.
Beef has fallen to 160p/kg deadweight, down from 175p/kg for animals graded R4H. Pig prices are hovering at about 100p/kg deadweight.
Seven new cases of foot-and-mouth were confirmed on Tuesday including four in Cumbria, two in Devon and one in County Durham. The total stands at 81.
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