NFU Scotland said it was another example of passing the charges down to the primary producer ‘leaving industry to carry the burden’
Farmers will be responsible for BSE sampling costs for fallen stock from April 1.
Last month, Farmers Guardian reported the Government was in the process of transferring the costs to the industry. Fallen stock aged over 48 months must be tested for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE).
Government advice has now been updated to say from April 1, the animal owner will be responsible for the cost of taking TSE samples from fallen stock cattle. The government will continue to pay the cost of transporting and testing the sample.
More information can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/bse%23testing-cattle-for-bse&source=gmail&ust=1551883489597000&usg=AFQjCNH_2a-kKZWDr0tn9tmI7EgBvQnDbw">www.gov.uk/guidance/
NFU Scotland animal health policy manager Penny Johnstone said: “While the likely cost to producers of around £7.50 per head is comparatively low, this is another example of simply passing food safety charges all the way down the chain to the primary producer, leaving the industry to carry the burden.
She said when they responded to the consultation the union was crystal clear it recognised the principle behind sharing the costs of animal diseases where there is an impact on both animals and industry.
“In the case of BSE, NFUS feels that industry takes considerable steps to prevent the occurrence of disease and already carries many of the costs associated with BSE, most of which relate to food safety, not animal health.
“Since the outbreak of the disease in the 80’s, industry has faced significant costs and losses associated with abattoir controls, SRM removal and disposal costs, some of which bear little scientific basis.
“These costs are food safety measures designed to protect public health and industry picks these up.”
She added industry also bore all the costs associated with the collection of fallen stock, which seemed to be ‘ever increasing’.
“The cost for collection of an adult cattle beast for TSE testing can range between £85-£200, depending on the service available,” she said.
“The need to review and manage these costs is long overdue as there are cheaper and more environmentally friendly options for fallen stock disposal than transport and rendering.”
She added the NFUS believed the industry already paid the significant cost of carcase collection but now had to pay the additional costs for a disease which was not infectious or an animal disease concern.
“BSE is a food safety issue and the cost of sampling and testing should have be covered by Government as industry already contributes significantly through abattoir controls and fallen stock collection.”