APHA offers free postmortem collection service

Farmers with fallen livestock are being encouraged to take advantage of a new, free carcass collection service from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), where disease is suspected.

The service was introduced at the start of the year, though APHA is concerned that not many are aware of it.

APHA says farmers located within roughly an hour’s drive of one of its own veterinary investigation centres, or one of its partner sites (see list below), will need to transport carcasses for postmortem by their own means.

See also: Lab closures prompt calls for animal disease database

But beyond those catchment areas, they can call on an approved carcass collection contractor, to take the suspect carcass to the nearest centre.

A map is available online to identify the new carcass collection areas.

APHA insists that, while collection from these areas is free, farmers will still be charged for the postmortem service itself.

Prices range from £1 for a chicken less than two weeks old to £150 for cattle over 48 months old.

“When disease is suspected, farmers should discuss with their vet whether to send samples on to APHA laboratories for diagnostic testing, or submit a carcass for postmortem examination,” said a statement.

Collected data would help the agency monitor the health of different animal species across the country to build a national disease picture.

“This provides an early warning for the detection of new, unusual or re-emerging diseases and enables a strategic approach to disease control,” it said.

“Faster detection and control minimises loss of production and consequently the financial loss to farming businesses.”

A postcode search tool is available on the APHA Vet Gateway website, will help identify the nearest centre, which can be contacted to arrange for collection. 

Veterinary investigation centres

  • Penrith, Cumbria
  • Thirsk, North Yorkshire
  • Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
  • Star Cross, Devon
  • Carmarthen, south Wales

External partners

  • University of Bristol
  • Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire
  • University of Surrey
  • Scottish Agricultural College (covering Northumberland)
  • Aberystwyth University
See more