Livestock farmers who plan to take cattle to agricultural shows are being encouraged to contact their abattoir to avoid penalties.
Many abattoirs have specifications, which put a maximum limit on the number of moves before a penalty is applied. If farmers explain that the moves on the passport are attributed to taking animals to shows and not a change of owner, the farmers are less likely to be penalised.
Abattoirs set their own rules, and as such, farmers are encouraged to speak to them ahead of the show season to obtain clear guidelines. Do not wait until the animals are on the lairage before starting the conversation.
NFU Scotland’s Livestock Chairman Charlie Adam commented: “For most abattoirs, movements of cattle to agricultural shows does not contribute towards the maximum number of moves rule. Before taking your cattle to an agricultural show, NFU Scotland recommends speaking to your abattoir to understand exactly how their specification rules are applied.
“We also recommend that where possible farmers make their abattoir aware of any show cattle within a consignment before it leaves the farm. This is so the farmer can explain that the movements on the passport were caused by taking the animal to a show and not due to a change of ownership or residency.
“NFU Scotland does not support penalising cattle which have too many moves. We are engaging with retailers to highlight that cattle that have ‘too many moves’ do not necessarily have a decreased animal welfare or are less efficient.
“We have also made it clear that moves within businesses should not contribute toward a penalty. Nevertheless, farmers need to be aware of the situation as it stands and we urge members to speak to their processor to investigate further.”