Everyone will remember the “Mad Cow Disease” period in the UK, along with “Foot and Mouth” outbreaks that occurred on three separate occasions. The worst F&M outbreak started in 2001. In an effort to halt the disease, 10 million animals were slaughtered. Other than World War II, this F&M outbreak was the most costly event in the United Kingdom’s history. BSE or “Mad Cow Disease” was another crippling moment in history. 4.4 million animals were slaughtered during its eradication. This was thought to have begun at a fat rendering plant.
Part of the processing done there involved heating animal waste to very high temperatures, which they were failing to do. Infected protein from this plant was then fed to young cattle and so the epidemic began. “So what’s your point Andrew”? Well Fonterra are very clear nowadays on the rules around meat processing waste being applied to supplement paddocks, whether that be silage, fodder beet etc. It’s an emphatic no! Don’t feed that to lactating dairy cows. So does that make it ok to send it in to the beef & lamb supply chain? Where is that feed going? The recent publicity around PKE is another hot topic. If that cloven hoofed leg did arrive in a PKE shipment, then you’d have to wonder wouldn’t you. Imagine trying to sneak that through Christchurch Airport in your suitcase!! No doubt if you’re reading this, then an F&M or BSE outbreak would have the same crippling effect on your business as it would on ours.
To complete the farce, we were told that the tissue samples closely resembled those of a snapper, thus the snapper–goat was born!
PKE has been a life saver for many dairy farmers during periods of drought, particularly in the North Island. Here’s hoping that we don’t all pay for its use one day. Our cropping clients have their own fiasco to contemplate. It seems “Black Grass” weed seeds have been distributed around the roads of Mid Canterbury. Isn’t it reassuring we’re all in such capable hands?