Markets told to clean up their act

By FWi staff

MARKETS, slaughterhouses and abattoirs are under attack from livestock hauliers, who are demanding better washing out facilities to help reduce the risk of spreading foot-and-mouth.

But the cost of laying on extra facilities could be passed back to farmers as meat plant bosses and hauliers say their own margins cannot stand additional costs.

Eddie Harper, chairman of the Road Haulage Associations livestock hauliers group, has already made representations to the government on the issue of washing out facilities in the light of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

While pointing out that abattoirs are often the worst offenders, markets and other businesses cannot be excused, he says.

The RHA believes standards need to be enforced and those sites that do not comply must cease to trade.

Hauliers say they have to wait several hours to wash out trailers at some sites.

This often leads to trucks being moved off-site to other washing facilities, which may not be tolerated post-foot-and-mouth, believes the RHA.

Livestock Auctioneers Assoc-iation chairman Peter Kingwill agrees in principle to the demand.

“I believe there would be few auctioneers whod disagree as markets often have better wash off facilities than many other outlets for stock – a reason why many have applied to help in MAFFs welfare cull.

But it could see an end to seasonal sale venues often in upland areas or using showground facilities.”

Mr Kingwill admits the disinfection of vehicles after washing out could be improved.

“We know from experience that knapsack sprayers provided for hauliers often remain unused.

“Perhaps that reflects the fact weve enjoyed 34 years freedom from serious disease such as foot-and-mouth and some things have been allowed to lapse.”

Farmer-hauliers would also be included under calls for vehicles to be washed out between loads and/or before leaving a site.

But it remains unclear whether new rules would cover vehicles used strictly for a farms own stock.

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