Confusion over mass grave for cattle

2 April 2001

Confusion over mass grave for cattle

By Alistair Driver

GOVERNMENT and Army officials are to decide whether 20 lorry loads of cattle slaughtered under foot-and-mouth controls can be buried in a huge pit.

The carcasses of animals destroyed because of foot-and-mouth disease were taken to the site at Great Orton, Cumbria, by the Army at the weekend.

But they were stranded on the warmest weekend of the year so far after the health officials voiced concern about the risk of buried cattle spreading BSE.

A spokeswoman for the National Farmers Union said a decision was due to be made at the meeting between government officials, army leaders and farmers.

If the carcasses are not buried, they are likely to be rendered.

The Army claims it has government permission to bury the carcasses of cattle born after Aug 1, 1996 the date new BSE control measures were introduced.

But a Ministry of Agriculture said: I dont why know the Army said we had given permission to take the carcasses to the site.

Advice to MAFF from the Spongiform Ecephalopathy Advisory Committee the governments BSE advisers, was that burial could go ahead, she said.

But this still had to be discussed between MAFF, the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency before a final decision could be made.

The Army was brought in to speed up the process of slaughtering and disposing of animals in Cumbria, the county hardest hit by foot-and-mouth.

The NFU spokeswoman said this had made a significant difference in reducing the time taken between diagnosis and slaughter.

But it appeared that this had been achieved at the expense of even longer delays in disposing of carcasses, she added.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks

Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage

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