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Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many slaughterhouses available to cull cows born before 1996 there will be by the end of 2008; and if he will make a statement. (223518)

[holding answer 15 September 2008]: There are currently nine slaughterhouses in the UK licensed and available to handle pre August 1996 cattle: five in England; two in Scotland; one in Wales and in Northern Ireland. In order to manage the seasonal fluctuations in cattle presented under the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme (OCDS), Government and industry colleagues worked together to provide a booking system, the purpose of which is to be able to predict the demand for the scheme and to match slaughter capacity. At present the abattoir capacity is undersubscribed.