Keep em clean or risk being returned
Dirty or wet stock will not be slaughtered. FWs livestock
team examine whats required to minimise rejection
ABATTOIRS are not allowed to kill livestock which are wet and/or dirty, regardless of how they came to be in that condition.
That was the blunt message delivered by local Meat Hygiene Service officer Murray Gibson to farmers and auctioneers at a meeting in Devon called by the NFUs south-west region.
Mr Gibson emphasised that everyone in the chain from farm to killing line had to play their part in ensuring livestock were presented clean for slaughter. But if animals were wet or dirty when they left farms, then farmers must not be surprised if they were charged for cleaning or drying them, or asked to take them home again.
Advice on what farmers, hauliers, markets and abattoirs can do to ensure livestock was clean when it reached the killing line was described in a new booklet Clean Livestock Policy, available from MAFF*.
For farmers, it described and illustrated with photographs five categories of cleanliness in cattle and sheep. In general categories one and two were acceptable. Category five was not acceptable. Three and four would only be killed in exceptional circumstances, and then only if extra precautions could be taken, such as slowing down the killing line or hanging only on alternate shackles.
MHS staff were instructed to record details of suppliers of dirty/unsatisfactory livestock so that persistent offenders – including hauliers, markets, dealers, abattoir staff – could be identified. If stock were turned away MHS staff at other local abattoirs would be informed.
• Provide clean pasture.
• Clip or dag stock to prevent attachment of dung and soil. Clip sheep along the belly before putting them on roots. Cattle on slats should ideally be transferred to straw yards three weeks before slaughter.
• Follow a worming programme.
• Provide shelter or housing prior to collection from the farm, overnight if necessary, with adequate bedding.
• Feed an appropriate fibrous diet, for instance replace silage by hay, and reduce feed intake before loading – but not so far as to affect welfare.
• Provide loading facilities under cover to prevent animals becoming soaked which in turn can lead to stock getting more easily soiled.
Source: MHS Clean Livestock Policy booklet, available free to farmers from MAFF, Meat Hygiene Division, Government Buildings, Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey.
Acceptable stock will be clean and dry; those dirty or wet are not.