THE decision by the EU Commission to raise the age limit at which the vertebral column must be removed from animals slaughtered from 24 to 30 months is welcome.
This requirement had a penal effect on farmers selling heifers to butchers, effectively ruling out any heifer a day over 24 months — because of the additional regulatory requirements and associated costs for a butcher slaughtering the older heifer.
There is another restriction on farmers buying livestock which urgently requires reform. It does not make sense that a farmer is prohibited from re-sale of an animal for 40 days following purchase, while a cattle dealer can resell the following day. Although it does not directly affect a large percentage of livestock farmers, there are situations in which it does create considerable inconvenience, particularly for finishers who specialise in a uniform type of beef animal, and are landed with a few unsuitable ones.
Regardless of the past, it is now out of date, is not serving any useful purpose and should be withdrawn as part of the clean-up of the carry-over of non-practical regulations to deal with the problems encountered over the past decade.
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