Monday 5 November 2018

Fallen stock

Today I had to arrange the collection of a ram lamb that had died yesterday evening, despite earlier veterinary intervention. All its vital signs were normal, as was a blood test. Worms (always high on the suspect list with sheep) were not an issue, and we are passed the time of year when fly strike is a concern. It was nevertheless out of sorts. It seemed to more or less stabalise but ultimately there followed a rather rapid deterioration. Its not clear what the problem was. Sheep can be like that.  

'Fallen stock' is the term used for livestock that die on the farm. It happens from time to time as a result of illness or culling at the end of its productive life. There are, as you might expect, rules and regulations regarding the disposal of fallen stock - you can't just bury them (as you might with a pet) or burn them.  

By and large, livestock are ordinarily required to be tagged with a flock or herd number and an individual number specific to the animal. A record should be maintained of their movements on and off the holding so that in theory every animal is traceable. These records will be looked at should you ever be inspected by APHA

The regulations are fairly rigorous but not onerous. This includes their disposal. Pigs, sheep and cattle have all been the source of significant disease outbreaks in times past and there is a consequent concern that diseased animals don't enter the food chain.

What this means is if you play by the rules (and I believe in this area you should)  if livestock die on your holding you still need to be able to account for it, including its proper disposal, with the appropriate paperwork to support it.

Fallen stock companies are licensed to carry out such disposals. I suppose they used to be called in, less regulated times, knacker's yards or the knacker man. As it happens the fallen stock company I've had to deal with, on two occasions now, is run by a woman. 

If you join the not-for-profit National Fallen Stock Company (NFSC), for a mere £10 you can be sent a list of local fallen stock companies and they also oversee payment and the administration of collection and disposal. 

A sad morning but part and parcel of smallholding.

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