I support your fight for a fair deal on fallen stock.
It seems absurd to ban the on-farm burial of fallen stock and unreasonable
to do so without a safe, practical and affordable alternative. Lord Whitty
has agreed in parliament [19th March] that the burial of fallen stock on farm
has been going on for at least two millennia. He stated that it must
now be banned because "it presents environmental problems for watercourses
and in terms of animal disease, which is why the European legislation was
What has changed recently to make this a danger to watercourses and "in
terms of" animal disease so significant that it must be banned?
When questioned on these points he referred to "the type of seepage about
which we are concerned that occurs when there is a substantial quantity of
animal burial." But normal on-farm burial does not involve "a substantial
quantity of animal burial": particularly not on farms with low stocking rates
[farms complying with extensification payment schemes, for example] and there
are clear guidelines for the avoidance of danger to watercourses. Both
stocking rates and the following of the guidelines are as capable of being
inspected for compliance and enforcement as will be the arrangements for
collection or incineration.
Where the stock graze the pasture and drop their dung on it, there seems to
be no logical reason why they should not be buried where they have lived.
Will we next be required to follow our animals with poop-a-scoops and collect up
the dung for transport to a central disposal plant too?
This rushed abandoning of a natural practice which has been used
acceptably and successfully for two millennia, will create a range of new and
potentially offensive environmental dangers. The transport of fallen
stock, farm to farm will tend to increase rather than decrease the risk
of spreading disease, consume more fossil fuels and risk offensive sights
and smells being inflicted on the public. The concentration of the
corpses at the collection points will ensure that there will be problems of
"seepage" and smell. The natural process of decay and reabsorbsion of the
animal corpse on the farm where it lived will become an ecologically expensive
industrial problem: a mountain made from a molehill.
I suggest that a derogation should be made for farms with closed flocks and
low stocking rates: and that the ban should not be imposed on any
farm without the provision of arrangements which are workable and
Middle Campscott Farm
Devon EX34 8LS