BSE testing costs spark farmer anger

The decision by a number of large meat processors to charge for the cost of BSE testing of cattle over 48 months has sparked anger among farming industry leaders.

The NFU said it was calling on the processors to review the decision and backed those livestock markets which refused to deduct the charge.

Alistair Mackintosh, the NFU’s livestock board chairman, said: “We were opposed to the cost of testing being passed from the government to the industry and we’re extremely disappointed that the cost is now being passed directly to the primary producer.

“We have long argued for greater transparency, sustainability and simplicity within red meat marketing and firmly believe any additional costs such as these are costs of production and, as a result, should be factored into the price paid to the producer.

“The price a farmer receives at an abattoir or auction market should be the actual price he receives and no further deductions should be taken off the invoice.”

Mr Mackintosh said he supported and applauded the position adopted by a number of livestock markets not to deduct a charge to cover the BSE testing cost.

NFU Cymru livestock board chairman Ed Rees added that the situation was becoming ever more complex as different abattoirs were demanding different amounts. It was helping to create a fog and confusion around the actual cost of slaughtering.

He added: “The abattoirs should be absorbing this cost. They should come out with a straightforward cost of production. We believe any increase in processing operating costs should be factored into the bid price at auction making the system far clearer for the seller.”

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