22 November 1996

OTMS backlog falls to 120,000

THE backlog of over 30-month cattle has been cut to just 120,000 in England and Wales this week.

The Intervention Board said only two areas continued to have significant backlogs – the south west, where 45,000 animals are awaiting culling, and parts of Wales. With Scottish plants now taking stock from these areas, the Intervention Board said on Wednesday it was confident the whole backlog would be cleared within three weeks.

Robin Manning, IB director, wrote to all 43 abattoirs involved in the OTMS scheme this week, saying they could take animals without registration certificates – as long as they gave priority to certificated cattle and provided a guaranteed slaughter spot within five days to producers or marts seek-ing to present certificated cattle.

Mr Manning said abattoirs should now record separately the number of registered and unregistered animals slaughtered each day.

Peter Scott, Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers spokes-man, said he was unsure if the registration scheme had helped speed up the cull, citing problems last week when abattoir throughput fell due to lack of certificated animals.

But he acknowledged the OTMS backlog would be removed within the next three weeks.

lIncineration of meat and bonemeal began this week in Hampshire after Rechem was given a three-year licence to burn 15,000t a year. &#42