Farmers burying cows threaten public health

22 August 1997

Farmers burying cows threaten public health

By Shelley Wright

KNACKERMEN have warned the Government that, unless it reverses its plans to axe rendering support, then not only will full traceability of cattle be impossible, but public health could be threatened by contamination of water courses.

In a letter to junior farm minister Jeff Rooker, Bryan Shields, a partner with Staffs knackering firm A Parker, said the loss of rendering subsidy from next March would lead to more farmers burying fallen stock themselves, rather than paying knackermen to take the carcasses away.

“If farmers are allowed, or are forced by cost, to resort to the cheaper option of burying fallen stock then full cattle tarceability will be lost,” Mr Shields said.

Although MAFF seemed to see on-farm burial as acceptable, it was ignoring the consequences of an indiscriminate way of disposing of pollution, he said.

“By indiscriminate I mean mass graves . . . where thousands of carcases of all descriptions are buried without any thought for effluent or water courses,” the letter said.

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