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Start date announced for new collection arrangements for fallen cattle over 48 months

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The free collection and disposal service operated by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) for bovines over 48 months of age will end on 8 November 2009.

From 9 November, in accordance with the TSE (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2009, herd keepers will be required to contact the operator of an approved TSE sampling site within 24 hours of the animal’s death to make arrangements to have any fallen bovines over 48 months of age collected for the purposes of BSE testing. The herd keeper will have to pay the collection and disposal costs for these animals.

To help farmers adjust to paying for the collection and disposal of these fallen bovines, the Department will pay £40 per bovine towards these costs until 31 January 2010. This will be paid by administrative arrangement through the National Fallen Stock Scheme.

It remains an EU requirement to BSE test all cattle over 48 months of age, the Department will continue to pay the actual BSE testing costs.

All three local Rendering Plants will be approved as TSE Sampling Sites. This will give farmers widespread geographical coverage to have their animals collected and disposed of. You can contact any of the following sites to arrange collection:-

  • Foyle Proteins - 028 7186 1120
  • Glenfarm Collection Services – 028 9445 1919
  • Linergy - 028 8775 0050

Fallen animals cannot be buried on farm. The Animal By-Products Regulations in 2003 banned the burial of fallen animals. Farmers have a legal obligation to dispose of their animals at the end of their productive life in line with the Animal By-Products and TSE Regulations.

Notes to editors:

1. Since 2001, Government has funded the collection and disposal of fallen adult cattle that have required BSE testing under EU rules. Ending the free collection service has been under consideration since the beef export ban was lifted in May 2006. The Department has delayed the introduction as long as possible.

2. The service currently costs the taxpayer about £3million per year in the north of Ireland. Farmers in Britain have had to meet these costs since the 12 January 2009.

3. It is a legal requirement to contact the operator of an approved TSE sampling site within 24 hours of the animal’s death to have the animal collected. This notification is necessary because the brain tissue, which is required for testing, decomposes vey quickly after death.

4. Ending the free collection and disposal service will not affect public health. Action required under EU national legislation if BSE is confirmed will remain unchanged.

5. In the north of Ireland there were four confirmed cases of BSE in 2008 compared to 487 cases in 1993. To date there have been two cases in 2009.

6. Further information is available from the DARD website.

7. All media enquiries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.