Bulk collections for fallen stock to commence

THE NATIONAL Fallen Stock Company is on the verge of announcing that collectors will be allowed to make bulk collections from farms from Jan 2006.

Producers will be able to store fallen stock in Dolav bins — large sealed boxes — so collectors only need to visit the farm every few days.

The NFSCo hopes the move will help improve the service offered to livestock producers — particularly sheep farmers, who in some areas claimed that the service they received during lambing was unacceptable.

The issue of how to sort out the fallen stock problems in Wales was also the subject of a 90-minute discussion in the House of Commons last Weds (Jun 29).

Plaid Cymru MP for Caernarfon in North-West Wales Hywel Williams raised the debate and argued that the government should seek a temporary or permanent derogation from the regulations for his part of Wales and perhaps elsewhere and re-establish what he called the “previous, entirely safe, practice of on-farm burial”.

Other MPs also questioned the need for the new regulations.

Lib-Dem MP Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire), a partner in a livestock farming business, said that the regulations were based on the principle of precaution and not on definite scientific knowledge.

He suggested that the government should examine whether there was a scientific case for the regulation at all.
“It seems that it is time for the minister to stand up for British farming and farmers and say,

‘We must consider the regulation again to see whether it carries any substance at all’,” Mr Williams said.

Conservative MP Philip Dunne (Ludlow) said that because of the “unacceptable amount of time” it took to collect fallen stock, “the biosecurity risks are far greater as a result of the regulation than they were when burial was permitted”.

In reply, junior DEFRA minister Ben Bradshaw said that the service provided earlier this year in north Wales was not satisfactory but some potential solutions were emerging.

But he made it clear that he regarded it as unrealistic to think the burial ban would be reversed.

“I am making the point that the ban on land burials of animals is not going to be reversed unless new and convincing scientific evidence comes forward.”