11 December 1998

Try to keep em clean

MORE help is at hand for producing clean animals for slaughter with two new MAFF booklets.

While MAFF admits that most producers take pride in producing clean animals, it says dirty sheep and beef cattle are still being rejected at abattoirs.

The booklets, Clean Beef Cattle for Slaughter and Clean Sheep for Slaughter, provide advice on diet, housing, health and welfare to help keep animals cleaner while finishing, says MAFF.

The booklets also include pictures for scoring animal cleanliness during finishing to assess whether more action is needed to avoid rejection at abattoirs.

Finishing sheep on roots or forage crops puts them at most risk of becoming wet and dirty, warns the booklet. To reduce dirtiness, it advises dagging and worming sheep before turning onto roots or forage crops, introducing them gradually, providing a grass run-back or straw as a lying area, introducing concentrates slowly and moving troughs frequently.

Winter is also the most difficult period for keeping finishing cattle clean, says MAFF. For housed cattle space allowances, bedding and ventilation and a well balanced diet are critical.

&#8226 Both booklets are available free from MAFFPublications, Admail 6000, London (0645-556000).