Proposal to Raise BSE Testing Age Welcomed

UK - The EU Commission decision to raise the BSE testing age for all cattle to 48 months from the current 30 months, has been welcomed by the Ulster Farmers’ Union.
calendar icon 22 September 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

UFU President Graham Furey
Photo: UFU

UFU President Graham Furey said the decision paved the way for costs imposed on many farmers to be reduced and he said it was another demonstration of confidence in European beef. The new ruling is expected to come into force in the New Year.

Graham Furey said; “Any further relaxation in BSE controls is good news for farmers. If and when the decision is implemented in the UK it will mean farmers will not be charged the testing fee for cattle under 48 months and this should mean a saving per animal on kill charges. It also means less red tape for farmers who until now had to be very conscious of the thirty months age threshold when finishing animals. In the past over 30 month prime cattle have been discounted in the market place but this decision means that practice should no longer take place. As long as cattle meet their market specifications they should not be discounted because of their age”.

The UFU says that based on previous throughput figures, moving the testing age for food chain cattle from 30 to 48 months would result in approximately 40,000 less cattle being tested on an annual basis in Northern Ireland.

The change to the testing age also includes fallen animals which die on farm. The Union says the decision will unfortunately result in farmers now bearing the cost of disposing of these animals through the fallen stock disposal arrangements. The UFU says it will be discussing how to minimise these costs with renderers and the National Fallen Stock Company.

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