Enhanced private slaughter arrangements for cattle compulsorily slaughtered for bovine TB control in England

Defra has enhanced private slaughter arrangements in England for cattle compulsorily slaughtered as TB reactors or direct contacts (DCs) from 1 November 2018.

Background

Cattle owners in England are paid compensation by Defra under the Cattle Compensation (England) Order 2012 for cattle compulsorily slaughtered for disease control purposes. Compensation equivalent to the average market price for same category cattle is paid. More information on rates of compensation and the cattle categories used can be found on GOV.UK

In England, cattle owners have always had the option to privately slaughter animals compulsorily removed for the control of bovine TB. Instead of APHA organising removal of the animals to a contracted slaughterhouse, the owner organises and pays for their removal to a slaughterhouse of their choice. The owner also deals directly with the slaughterhouse operator with respect to payment for meat from the carcases.

Owners taking up the option of private slaughter forgo compensation payable by Defra, taking instead a payment from their slaughterhouse operator for the meat value of the carcase (known as salvage payment). However, if a privately slaughtered animal is totally condemned due to TB, owners would be left completely out of pocket as they do not receive any compensation or salvage payment.

The Official Veterinarian (OV) at the slaughterhouse may totally condemn a carcase for reasons of TB if visible lesions are found at more than one site, and as such it cannot be used for human consumption. Roughly 6% of carcases of animals removed for TB control purposes are condemned, and this provides a disincentive for owners to take up the option of private slaughter.

Enhancing the private slaughter option

From 1 November 2018, Defra introduced a change to private slaughter arrangements for cattle compulsorily removed for TB control purposes in England.

We recognise that some owners could benefit from the private slaughter option, for example beef finishers that have a good working relationship with their slaughterhouse operator and can negotiate higher salvage payments than the rates of compensation payable by Defra. For this reason, Defra is incentivising the option of private slaughter so that owners can realise this benefit where possible.

Defra will pay full compensation for cattle compulsorily removed for TB control purposes that are privately slaughtered but the carcase is totally condemned by the slaughterhouse operator due to TB.

The Cattle Compensation (England) Order 2012 has been amended to allow this change to be implemented under the Cattle Compensation (England) (Amendment) Order 2018.

Owners need to consider whether the option of private slaughter is appropriate in their situation and be able to organise haulage to their chosen slaughterhouse within the required time frame. Owners also need to be aware that not all slaughterhouses will accept TB reactors/DCs.

Owners wishing to take up the option of private slaughter of TB reactors/DCs must discuss their intentions with APHA and obtain a licence to move the animals to the slaughterhouse. TB reactors and DCs cannot be moved to slaughter without a specific licence issued by APHA.

Removal of the animal must take place within ten working days of it being identified as a TB reactor or DC. If the animal is not removed within the specified time period, APHA will organise removal to one of their contracted slaughterhouses and the owner will receive compensation as per normal arrangements.

Q&A

Why was this change ntroduced?

To incentivise the private slaughter option for TB affected cattle. Some cattle keepers may be able to negotiate with their slaughterhouse operator, a payment that exceeds the Defra compensation rate. By agreeing to pay compensation if the carcase is condemned due to TB, Defra will ensure farmers who take the option of private slaughter are not left out of pocket.

What is the process for organising private slaughter?

Owners wishing to take up the option of private slaughter of TB reactors/DCs should contact APHA at the earliest opportunity. APHA will confirm with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that the owner’s chosen slaughterhouse will accept TB reactors/DCs, although it is the owner’s responsibility to check directly with the slaughterhouse. Once approval is given to APHA by FSA, a licence is issued and the owner can proceed to organise haulage of the animals to the slaughterhouse.

If I take up the option of private slaughter of TB reactors/DCs , do I have to arrange and pay for removal and slaughter?

Yes. Owners need to organise and pay for haulage and slaughter of the animals, and deal directly with the slaughterhouse with respect to payment for the meat value of the carcases.

Do I have to arrange removal within a certain period of time?

Yes. Removal must happen within ten working days of the animal being identified as a TB reactor or DC.

  • In the case of skin test reactors, ten working days from the reading date (TT2) of the skin test where the animal was identified as a reactor
  • In the case of interferon-gamma test positive animals, ten working days from the date of the notification of positive blood test results from the laboratory
  • In the case of DCs, the date that APHA advised the owner verbally of the requirement to remove the animal as a DC

If the animal has not been removed within the specified period of time, APHA will organise removal to one of their contracted slaughterhouses and the owner will receive compensation as per normal arrangements.

What if removal is being delayed, e.g. in-calf females remaining on farm to calve?

If it has been agreed with APHA that removal can be delayed, the owner can still take up the option of private slaughter once the animal is due for removal. The standard ten working day removal target would not apply in these circumstances. Owners wishing to delay removal of their in-calf TB reactors/DCs must contact APHA to seek approval.

What if my usual slaughterhouse cannot take TB reactors/DCs?

Owners wishing to privately slaughter their animals must confirm directly with their chosen slaughterhouse that they can take TB reactors/DCs. If their chosen slaughterhouse cannot take the animals the owner must look for an alternative slaughterhouse, or APHA can arrange removal to one of their contracted slaughterhouses as per normal arrangements.

Are private slaughter arrangements permitted for animals subject to individual valuation?

Yes, although owners still need to consider whether the salvage returns are likely to exceed the amount of compensation payable in order to decide whether to take up the option of private slaughter.

What if the carcase of my privately slaughtered TB reactor/DC is condemned?

Owners opting to privately slaughter their TB reactors/DCs will now receive compensation from Defra if the carcase is totally condemned due to TB.

Owners should contact APHA following notification from the slaughterhouse that a privately slaughtered TB reactor or DC carcase has been condemned to arrange for a compensation payment to be made.

What if the carcase of my privately slaughtered TB reactor/DC is not condemned but I receive less salvage than the table compensation amount?

In taking this option owners must agree to accept the salvage payment that they have agreed with the slaughterhouse operator, and no “top up” payment from Defra is available in this scenario.

Am I paid compensation if I send any bovine animal to slaughter and it is condemned for reasons of TB?

No. Compensation is only payable where Defra requires the cattle to be compulsorily slaughtered for TB control purposes.

If I privately slaughter a reactor/DC and it is condemned due to TB, will my compensation payment be reduced if the animal was moved into the herd during the breakdown?

From 1 November 2018, a 50% reduction in compensation is applied for animals moved into a TB breakdown herd that are subsequently removed as TB reactors or DCs before the herd regains officially TB free (OTF) status.

Privately slaughtered TB reactors/DCs that are condemned due to TB and were moved into a breakdown herd would receive a 50% reduction to the amount of compensation payable by Defra.