27 March 1998

UKRA denies meeting with Prof Lacey

THE UK Renderers Association denies ever having met controversial BSE commentator Richard Lacey – despite his insistence last week that, based on discussions with the association, farmers were burying BSE suspects on their farms rather than reporting them.

Prof Lacey infuriated the farming industry when he told the BSE inquiry last week that the only reason that the incidence of BSE was falling was because farmers were burying suspect cases on their own land (News, Mar 20). And he said he had seen video evidence from the renderers to substantiate his allegations.

The UKRA said it was aware of substantial increases in farm burials in recent years, linked to increasing disposal costs faced by farmers. The association also admitted to being opposed, in principle, to on-farm burial.

But it maintained that it had no reason to believe that any cattle being buried on farms were BSE suspects. The disease was notifiable, so burying suspected cases would not only be illegal, but farmers would also forego significant compensation payments by doing so.