Welsh unions call for system rethink

Both Welsh farming unions want a rethink of the current system for dealing with fallen stock, especially sheep.

This follows the local authority’s suspension of collections by Cluttons Agriculture of Wrexham, the main company operating in north Wales, in response to public health concerns about the build-up of carcasses on its site (News, 2 June).

Arrangements were made for three other companies to take on Cluttons’ National Fallen Stock Scheme collections, but unions have been inundated with calls from members about delays.

“The closure has shown how fragile the current system is,” said a Farmers Union of Wales spokesman.

“All it takes is one break in the chain and chaos ensues, with rotting carcasses lying uncollected for days.

Many members of the public have expressed concern about the smell, and amazement at the madness of the burial ban.”

Ed Rees, chairman of NFU Cymru’s livestock board, called for different rules for ovine and bovine animals.

“The disposal of sheep, for which there are no proven BSE implications, should be treated differently from that of cattle.”

If burial was not possible, the use of approved bio-digesters would remove the need for a system to deal with very large numbers of fallen animals during the relatively short lambing period.