Farmers still sending OTM cattle to slaughter despite ban

UK farmers have sent over 180 older cattle to slaughter for human consumption since last November, despite a ban oncattle born before 1 August 1996 entering the food chain.

UK farmers have sent over 180 older cattle to slaughter for human consumption since last November, despite a ban on cattle born before 1 August 1996 entering the food chain because of the increased risk of BSE.

But the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has assured consumers that none of the 180 animals entered the food chain.

Changes to the over thirty month (OTM) scheme last November mean cattle aged over thirty months and born on or after 1 August 1996 are allowed into the food chain subject to BSE testing.

Farmers have been urged by DARD to remember the importance of double checking the birth dates of cattle. Cattle born or reared in the UK before 1 August 1996 must only be sent for slaughter under the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme (OCDS) where compensation will be paid. Cattle born or reared in the UK before 1 August 1996 presented at a slaughterhouse for human consumption will be killed and destroyed without compensation.

A spokesman for DARD said: "This is a serious matter. UK consumers and our EU trading partners expect farmers to keep cattle born or reared in the UK before 1 August 1996 out of the food chain. To do otherwise risks undermining confidence in the beef industry.

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