12 April 1996

Plans for calf cull imminent

DAIRY farmers should know in the next fortnight how the government plans to implement the bull calf slaughter scheme.

Farm minister, Douglas Hogg, announced that the EU scheme would be made available because the worldwide ban imposed on British beef and cattle had destroyed the export market for dairy calves going for veal production on the Continent.

And he was anxious to stop these calves being reared at home because that would add to the beef surplus. £103 a head would be paid for dairy-breed bull calves if they were slaughtered under 10 days old.

A MAFF official said the ministry hoped to meet farming representatives later this week to work out exactly how the scheme would operate. But he predicted MAFF would send farmers a list of abattoirs that were willing to kill calves.

It would then be up to farmers to deliver their calves to the slaughterhouses. The abattoirs would claim the £103 from government, then, after deducting their charges, they would pay the rest to the farmer.

An official at the Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers said it had not had any discussions with MAFF on how the calf slaughter scheme might be implemented. But he predicted slaughterhouses would need at least £20 a head to cover their costs.

Rendering and disposal charges would also be made.