Belly clipping warning

23 April 1999

Belly clipping warning

THE Health and Safety Executive has said that recent accident reports show that the risk of serious injury associated with belly clipping cattle is due to the task and not the equipment used.

The HSE findings were reported to the Scottish NFU this week.

"We accept that meat hygiene and food safety are vital issues. But the associated measures must not be at the expense of proper regard for personal safety," said the unions technical committee chairman, John Kinnaird.

He suggested belly clipping be done after slaughter. "That might require changes to abattoir practice, but we must explore every option before serious injury turns into fatal injury.

The anti-kick bar developed by Basil Lowman at SAC reduced the risk of injury but had to be regarded as an interim measure rather than a proper solution.

Castle Douglas farmer Donald Biggar, chairman of the Royal Smithfield Club, recently described belly clipping of cattle before slaughter as "a cosmetic measure which, except in the most extreme cases of dirty animals, has nothing to do with food safety".

See more