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Animal By-Products

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when her Department plans to start its proposed subscription scheme to deal with carcases that can no longer be buried on farm land as a result of the implementation of the EU Animal By-products Regulation; [118915](2) what plans her Department has for the disposal of fallen stock in the time between the ban on burial of carcases on farms and the beginning of the subscription scheme; [118916](3) what the cost will be to the average farmer in

(a) England and (b) each region of the new arrangements for the disposal of carcases following the implementation of the EU Animal By-products Regulation; and whether the Government will be making financial assistance available; [118917]

(4) what alternatives to the subscription scheme her Department is offering to farmers to help them dispose of animal carcases following the introduction of the EU Animal By-products Regulation. [118919]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: There was a low response rate of 30 per cent. from livestock farmers to the letter inviting interest in a national scheme. In the light of this disappointing response, the Government are now considering whether the scheme should go ahead, and if so, in what form.A national scheme was proposed in order to reduce the cost of collecting and disposal of fallen stock and to encourage compliance with the Regulation. However, an infrastructure of knackers' yards and renderers is already in place, and we would expect farmers to have been complying with the new rules from 1 May 2003. There is a help line in place for farmers to use if they do not know what disposal services exist in their area. The help line number is: 0845 8507070.In the absence of a scheme, costs to the farmer of disposal of fallen stock would depend on the type and number of animals on the farm and its location. Under the proposed scheme, small farms would pay £50, medium farms £100 and large farms £200 in the first year. Additional costs of the scheme would be subsidised by Government on a digressive basis over three years.Additional information on the disposal of animal carcases is available on the Defra website at: and from local Defra Animal Health Offices.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures her Department is putting in place to ensure that under the subscription scheme to collect carcases from farms (a) carcass collection will take place promptly to avoid vermin infestation and the smell of rotting carcasses and (b) vehicles coming on to farmland to pick up carcasses do not spread disease from different areas. [118918]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: No decision has yet been made on whether to proceed with he proposed subscription scheme.Although no specific time has been specified, we would envisage that fallen stock will, once an approved collector has been notified, normally be collected within 24 hours and not more than 48 hours.This would be consistent with existing contractual arrangements where collectors are expected to carry out the collection of fallen bovines and ovines within 24 hours for TSE testing purposes.The Animal By-Products Regulation requires animal by-products to be consigned or disposed of "without undue delay", which in essence means as soon as is reasonably practicable, taking into account the circumstances of the case.Any person in possession of animal by-products, such as fallen stock, who do not comply with the Regulation may face prosecution. Prosecutions may result in a fine of up to £5,000 and six months' imprisonment for cases heard in a magistrates court or an unlimited fine and up to two years imprisonment for cases heard in the Crown Court.