2 January 2001
Pithing ban still likely – agency

By FWi staff

PITHING – the practice of mashing an animals brain with a rod after it is stunned, to prevent it kicking out involuntarily – is still likely to be banned.

It is among new controls against BSE to be introduced in abattoirs.

Pithing was due to be banned by the European Union on 01 January because of fears that carcasses could be contaminated with BSE-infected brain material.

The Food Standards Agency delayed the ban in the UK until they finished considering the findings of industry consultation.

But agency officials said the ban will eventually be imposed. They have written a letter urging abattoirs to continue preparations for its implementation.

The letter says: “Although the agency still intends to implement a ban on pithing, the issue we are considering is when such a ban should be introduced.”

Small abattoirs remain opposed to the ban, which they said could put abattoir workers in danger and threaten the survival of some units.

The Small Abattoir Federation said some small abattoirs would face expensive structural alterations to make they safe if pithing is outlawed.