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Thursday, 19 February 2009

MEP wins vote on fallen stock

Good news from Brussels
Plaid MEP Jill Evans won the support of the European Parliament's Environment Committee allowing farmers to dispose of dead animals on their farms. The Environment Committee backed an amendment tabled by Ms Evans to proposed changes to European regulations for disposing of dead animals or fallen stock.

The committee backed the principle of on-farm containment. This is an area of particular concern to Wales, especially the collection of fallen stock from upland sheep farms. Much of the sheep sector in Wales is farmed extensively in upland and less accessible areas, and this makes the collection and disposal of fallen stock very difficult.

On-farm containment was phased out several years ago by the European Union, but many now believe that safety concerns about on-farm disposal have been addressed. Scientists at Bangor University are developing a 'digester' so that dead animals can be disposed of on-site in an environmentally friendly way.

Speaking after the vote in Brussels, Jill Evans said:

"It's time to update these rules on fallen stock. Many safety concerns have now been addressed and we are seeing an innovative and environmentally friendly method of on-site containment being developed at Bangor University. Representatives from Bangor will be coming to Brussels in March to demonstrate the project.

"I'm delighted that the Environment Committee supported my amendments to the regulation. Farmers have shown that the restrictions on the disposal of fallen stock cause them tremendous problems. One Wales Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones was in Brussels to discuss this with Commissioner Vassiliou a few weeks ago. Plaid Cymru is on the side of farmers in Wales and will campaign for change.

"We have some way to go, but I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to win the argument on fallen stock."

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