APHA extends free carcase collection service in North East

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has extended its free carcase collection services in north east England.

The agency has signed a new contract with Meraxian Limited which will provide the free carcase collection service for farmers who wish to use post mortem examination (PME) services at APHA’s Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC) at Thirsk.

APHA has recently extended its ‘free-to-farmer’ carcase collection service across England, but until now, this didn’t apply to farmers located more than an hour’s drive south of Thirsk VIC due to a lack of provider. The free carcase collection service has been available for some time to the north of Thirsk,

The free carcase collection service is for use when a farmer’s vet has agreed with APHA that a post mortem examination is required for diagnosis of disease. It is not, however, provided for the purposes of general carcase disposal.

It applies to farmers who are more than an hour from Thirsk VIC, which will arrange the collection of the carcase with the haulier, who will liaise directly with the farmer. Farmers within an hour’s drive of the facility will still need to deliver carcases by their own means.

When disease is suspected, farmers should discuss with their vet whether to send samples onto APHA laboratories for diagnostic testing or submit a carcase for post mortem examination. Vets are also encouraged to contact APHA VICs, or our partner PME providers, to discuss cases and options for diagnostic investigation.

APHA has other VICs at Penrith, Shrewsbury, Bury St Edmunds, Starcross and Carmarthen and the same arrangements for free carcase collection apply. It also has a number of external partners who deliver PME services on its behalf: the University of Bristol, the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Surrey, the Scottish Agricultural College (covering Northumberland) and in Wales, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre (Aberystwyth). APHA Lasswade also provides poultry PME and disease investigation services.

It has recently emerged that APHA’s Bury St Edmunds laboratory, in the heart of pig producing country, is to cease laboratory testing next year, raising concerns within the farming and veterinary communities about our ability to detect and address disease rapidly.

Contact details for APHA VICs and non-APHA post mortem providers can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/animal-and-plant-health-agency/about/access-and-opening.

Or to find your nearest PME facility use APHA’s post code search tool http://ahvla.defra.gov.uk/postcode/pme.asp.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.