Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A `First-Class Service' for North's Fallen Stock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A `First-Class Service' for North's Fallen Stock

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

As farmers prepare for the busy lambing season, attention has been turned to how a new scheme will help North-East farmers adhere to the on-farm burial ban.

Farmers have been unable to bury or burn any dead livestock on their farms since the Animal By-products Regulations were introduced in 2003 laws and instead have had to dispose of their stock using licensed means, such as registered collectors.

To help farmers cope with the arrangements and costs of the on-farm burial ban, the Government has subsidised a Fallen Stock Scheme, whereby farmers pay an annual fee and receive a list of approved collectors and a 30pc discount on the cost of disposal, which will decrease to 20pc in 2006 and 10pc in 2007.

This delayed scheme was finally introduced in November last year and this will be the first time that farmers have used it during the lambing season ( a time when casualties are almost inevitable.

The National Sheep Association has already made a plea to farmers to inform them of how the scheme works during this busy time and the Trading Standards Office has warned that it has already brought successful prosecutions against farmers who have broken this law.

In other parts of the country, the Fallen Stock Scheme has run into problems, with farmers in the South reporting that licensed collectors had hiked their prices up as much as pounds 75 a ewe and farmers in the Midlands claiming they were having to wait days for collectors to come to the farm and by the time they arrived the carcases were rotting and the collectors were refusing to take them away.

But the North-East branch of the NFU says the region is well served and farmers should not experience these sorts of problems in Northumberland and County Durham.

Darlington farmer David Maughan, who is a member of the NFU's regional livestock board, said: "We are fortunate in Northumberland and Durham in that we have a first-class service operated by John Warren, although I understand this isn't the case in other parts of the country. …

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