13 January 1999
‘BSE risk cattle sent for beef’
By FWi staff
ALLEGATIONS are being investigated that cattle at risk from BSE have been presented for slaughter, for human consumption, at abattoirs in Shropshire.
Shropshire County Councils trading standards department is investigating 22 separate cases where it is alleged cattle over 30 months old were sent to local abattoirs.
The Government prohibited the human consumption of beef from cattle over the age of 30 months as a “market support measure” in the wake of BSE.
But the measure also removes from the food chain older animals which are those most likely to have developed a significant amount of BSE in their tissue.
Councillor Peter Phillips, who chairs the Shropshires community and economic services committee, said:
“Those breaking laws designed to restore consumer confidence in the safety of British beef are misleading others to gain a short term financial advantage.
“They are also placing at risk the credibility of the various control mechanisms in place to demonstrate to the world that British beef is safe.”
David Walker, the countys chief trading standards officers, said: “Given the disastrous effect of the BSE crisis on Shropshires economy we take a very serious view of this type of allegation.”
“In some cases documents have been falsified or inaccurate proof of age has been provided when presenting the cattle for slaughter for human consumption.”
John Newall, a senior regional officer for the National Farmers Union, said the revelation was shocking that cattle at risk from BSE could have been slaughtered.
“From our point of view in the NFU this is extremely worrying,” he said. “We do not and cannot condone any illegal acts that may be carried out.”
The news comes days after a Shropshire farmer was jailed for nine months after submitting ineligible calves to the Calf Processing Aid Scheme.