Processors join call for animal database

Meat processors have joined the call for a high-speed beef and sheep database to record animal movements and assurance statuses.

Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), said that a database could enhance disease controls and help reduce the impact of animal disease outbreak, as well as meeting a range of other industry needs, including verification of the assurance status of animals.

“Our current animal movement systems are steam-driven and creaking. They leave our industry exposed to a variety of risks, with potentially huge adverse consequences. The industry needs a reliable system that records movements in real time,” he said.

Rossides added that the industry should be the “master of its own destiny” by designing and building its own system tailored to the needs of the industry, with the government paying for the cost of any data it wants.

The BMPA is the latest in a number of meat industry organisations to call for a database. Last week Eblex chairman John Cross told delegates that at the Eblex annual conference that a database is essential to enhance the industry’s reputation on world markets. He said that by helping manage the risk of major disease outbreaks, the system would put the UK on an equal or better footing than its competitors at a time when world trade is booming.

“I realise this is a challenge and there will be a cost involved, but I believe it is a vital move for the industry and it needs to be considered sooner rather than later,” he added. “These are very volatile times, but the industries and businesses that survive times like these are not the biggest, richest or smartest necessarily, but the ones with the fastest response and a willingness to change.

“No one else is going to grant us a secure future. We are the ones who have to act to mitigate the risks and optimise the opportunities presented by global markets, on the one hand, and technical advancement of productivity and efficiency on the other.”

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