Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Drive is on for cleaner livestock

Declan O'Brien

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

Possible measures to reduce the number of dirty sheep and cattle being killed in slaughter plants were explored and further talks are scheduled.
Possible measures to reduce the number of dirty sheep and cattle being killed in slaughter plants were explored and further talks are scheduled.

Stricter rules on the cleanliness of livestock going for slaughter could be on the cards by the end of the year.

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The Farming Independent understands that the Department of Agriculture and industry stakeholders have already held preliminary discussions on the matter.

Last week's meeting is believed to be the start of an industry-wide consultation process on the matter.

Possible measures to reduce the number of dirty sheep and cattle being killed in slaughter plants were explored and further talks are scheduled.

While no concrete proposals were tabled, it is anticipated that an awareness campaign aimed at farmers will be the first step in the campaign. This is expected to be launched in the autumn.

Scoring the cleanliness of slaughtered livestock on factory kill sheets was also suggested, with increased checks of farmers who persistently supply dirty cattle or sheep another possible option.

The different specification for US export contracts as well as the protection of the lucrative markets for cattle hides to outlets in China and other Far East countries were also cited as factors in the drive for cleaner livestock.

However, these considerations were dismissed by a processor source, who insisted that there was a lot more focus on the issue of dirty cattle for some time.

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Problems with dirty hoggets and lambs had also been identified as an ongoing concern, he pointed out.

While the issue usually eases off in the dry summer months, it invariably resurfaces during the autumn and early winter.

A spokesman for Meat Industry Ireland said that "a refocusing on implementation of the clean livestock policy (CLP) is absolutely essential and now is the right time to be addressing the issue, several months ahead of the vulnerable season from November through to April. This is an important part of overall food safety approach and farmers have a role to play as food business operators and suppliers of raw material to the food chain".

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