31 March 1998
SNFU meets Scottish Office to
resolve carcass disposal crisis
SCOTTISH National Farmers Union leaders are due to meet Scottish Office
officials today (Tuesday) to discuss the crisis of how to dispose of dead animals.
There are only four knacker firms left in Scotland and their viability is
under threat because the subsidy paid to the rendering industry is to be
As a result, large numbers of stock are being buried on farmland.
Prior to the BSE crisis, a range of knackeries lifted dead stock from farms at minimal, or in some cases, no charge. The knackeries would dispose of the carcasses in various ways including turning them into pet food. Knackeries also used to make a healthy profit out of blood and bone products such as tallow and meat and bone meal.
But post-BSE there is no market for these products, apart from the hides, and the knackers are forced to pay the renderers to handle the waste. The charges are inevitably passed back to farmers who in turn bury dead stock on their farm rather than pay to have it collected.
The burial of dead animals on farms poses a threat to human health if the
relevant regulations are not strictly adhered and the animals are buried close to water courses.
Spring is lambing time throughout Scotland, when sheep deaths reach a peak. With more than five million breeding ewes in Scotland, a mortality rate of anything between 100,000 and 500,000 lambs can be expected. There will also be about 50,000 cattle deaths, and a similar number of pigs, which will also have to be disposed of.
- The Scotsman 31/03/98 page 28