National Fallen Stock Scheme: Biosecurity Guidance

by 5m Editor
14 January 2004, at 12:00am

UK - Although there are some difficult decisions to be taken before a carcase collection scheme for pigs is introduced, work is under way on a biosecurity protocol.

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Fallen stock biosecurity: your views please

Can you see any areas where it should be tightened up? For instance, are you happy that paragraph 4(c) discourages but does not prohibit collection vehicles entering areas on farms where livestock is kept? Email your views, including your name, address and phone number.

National Fallen Stock Scheme: Biosecurity Guidance


  1. The primary aim of these guidelines is to stop taking disease from one farm to another while fallen stock is being collected under the National Fallen Stock Scheme. Some diseases can be readily spread to other farms on dirty protective clothing or vehicles.

  2. These guidelines must be followed by collectors approved under the scheme when collecting fallen stock for disposal. It is also in the interest of farmers/livestock keepers to ensure that collectors comply with these guidelines when on livestock premises.

  3. As the Scheme involves the collection and disposal of fallen stock that has died and the reason may not be readily apparent, it is particularly important that you comply with these guidelines. Disease is not always apparent, especially in its early stages and there is a real risk of collectors taking disease from one premises to another if these sensible precautions are not taken.

  4. The most important biosecurity measures are:

    1. to ensure that methods of working are designed to minimise the movements of people, vehicles or equipment into areas where farm animals are kept, including fields, sheds or other holding areas;

    2. pending collection under this scheme farmers are encouraged to remove fallen stock to a designated area of their premises to which livestock does not have access and where appropriate (e.g. poultry, young stock, small ruminants etc.) store in sealed containers. The fallen stock should be collected from that area;

    3. whenever possible the fallen stock collection vehicle should not enter any part of the premises where there is livestock and the collectors should keep out of such areas as well.

  5. Only collectors who have been approved under the Scheme will be allowed to collect fallen stock from farmers/livestock keepers.

    Action to be taken where this guidance is breached.

  6. It is a condition of Scheme approval that collectors comply with the biosecurity measures set down in this Guidance. Those found to be in breach of this guidance may have their scheme approval revoked.

    Where any person is aware or suspects that this guidance is not being followed they (sic) should report it to the call centre responsible for directing collectors to pick up the fallen stock. Phone number 0845 8507070.

    This information will be passed to the National Fallen Stock Company Ltd to consider further action. This may include further investigation of the alleged breach. Where the breach is substantiated this may result in the removal of the collector from participation in the Scheme.

  7. All collectors should have a Certificate of Competence. Initially this will be by Operator certificate of experience, but where any complaints arise concerning the practice of any operator then an inspection and assessment, and possibly further training, will be required as directed by the National Fallen Stock Co.

Guidance for farmers and livestock keepers

Suspected Notifiable Disease

  1. If you suspect that your stock may be infected with or have died from any notifiable disease you must notify the Divisional Veterinary Manager at your local Animal Health Divisional Office immediately for further investigation. Sudden and unexpected deaths in livestock must be reported to the local AHDO so that they can consider if an anthrax investigation is necessary. You must not arrange for any thing to be collected under the scheme until you have discussed this with the DVM.

    On-farm Collection Point – responsibilities of the farmer or keeper.

  2. Where possible, the farmer is encouraged to transfer the fallen stock, once discovered, to a specially designated area on their (sic) holding, from where it can be easily picked up by collectors with minimum risk of spreading any disease. Ideally, this should be a hard standing area, capable of being cleansed and disinfected, away from livestock and with easy vehicular access. Please include details of location of this area on your application form for membership of the Scheme. Otherwise pass details to the call centre/collector prior to the visit.

  3. If it is not possible to designate an allocated area, please choose a site that minimises the risk of spreading any disease affecting the fallen stock to other livestock. It is important to remove fallen stock from the vicinity etc. while waiting collection – away from other livestock, vermin and scavenging wildlife. The use of lidded containers can be considered for small carcasses e.g. up to 10kg.

    You also need to ensure that feedstuffs and watercourses are protected from any discharges from the fallen stock and any disinfectants used. Every farm is different and the keeper must carefully assess the choice of collection site, and take into account the other activities such as dwelling houses, walkers roads and public access.

  4. Pig and poultry holdings in particular may already have, or wish to consider, storing carcases in suitable containers whilst awaiting collection. Examples of good practice include the use of dedicated covered containers that are of a suitable construction to store the number and size of carcases that could be expected to occur in between pick-ups. Biosecurity would be improved further if these were capable of being picked up mechanically and tipped into the collection vehicle. Farmers may wish to discuss with their nominated collectors whether they have suitable vehicles to facilitate this type of arrangement and consider choosing a collector which (sic) is able to use such vehicles. It is recommended that farmers discuss their specific biosecurity arrangements with their vet or farm advisor, this is a requirement of some Farm Assurance schemes.

  5. It is recognised that in many cases on large pig and poultry holdings collection is on the basis of the disposal operator picking up a full skip/container of material and replacing it with an empty skip/container. This could pose a biosecurity risk and farmers may wish to consider improving biosecurity by making arrangements with the disposal operator to permit the skip/container to remain on the holding and the contents transferred by mechanical means to the collection vehicle rather than the skip/container being exchanged with an empty one not originating from the holding. Again, farmers may wish to discuss with their nominated collectors whether they have suitable vehicles to facilitate this type of arrangement and consider choosing a collector which is able to use such vehicles.

  6. It is a condition of the Scheme that the collection vehicle must take all reasonable steps to minimise the spread of disease from farm to farm. This means that the collection vehicle must arrive on the premises and leave it in a clean condition. For the purpose of these Guidance Notes this means no visible evidence of manure or slurry on the outside of the vehicle and no discharges or similar coming from the part of the vehicle used to transport the fallen stock.

Frequency of collection

  1. You must notify the call centre you have fallen stock to collect as soon as possible. Collection will normally take place by close of business on the next working day following notification but exceptionally may be longer depending on facilities for on-site storage e.g. at pig and poultry units where collection may be on a regular basis of every second or third day or where there might otherwise only be small volumes of fallen stock for collection e.g. new born lambs and piglets where you may need to wait a little longer. You can discuss this with the call centre. Although it may for example still be economical to pick up small quantities if it is on the route that day for the farmer’s nominated collector in other cases it may not be.

Guidance for collector


  1. It is essential that all those involved with on-farm collection are fully aware of, and are trained in how to carry out the necessary biosecurity measures at every collection. Approved collectors must be able to provide such training to the staff that go out collection the fallen stock.

  2. As well as observing the following guidance collectors would also comply with any reasonable requests for additional biosecurity measures made by the owner/farm manager especially if the farm has a recognised high herd health status. Examples of such include:

    1. remain in the vehicle until the farm staff appear;

    2. collection staff to keep out of livestock buildings;

    3. keep to a designated route on the farm; and,

    4. to use specific disinfectants etc. provided by the farm.

  3. It is particularly important that collectors should comply with all appropriate Health and Safety guidance. This will include protecting themselves against any diseases which they may pick up from the livestock and preventing physical injury while loading heavy deadstock.

Collection of fallen stock during an outbreak of a Notifiable Disease

  1. It may be necessary to require that enhanced biosecurity measures are adopted by, or other restrictions are applied to, farmers and contractors if there is an outbreak of a notifiable disease. Any such additional conditions will be made available at the appropriate time.

    Making arrangements for the collection of fallen stock.

  2. You must normally arrange for collection of fallen stock to take place by close of business on the next working day following notification from the Scheme call centre. See also paragraph 10 above for exceptions. At the point of notification you should confirm with the centre:

    1. where the fallen stock are to be collected from; and

    2. how you should access the premises and where to park your vehicle.

  3. If any of this information is not available from the call centre, contact the farmer direct for further details.

    Vehicles and trailers

  4. Vehicles must comply with the relevant provisions of the Animal By-Product Regulations 2003 and any additional local bye laws when collecting and transporting carcases. Fallen stock must be transported in a vehicle that is lined with impervious easily cleaned material and that is equipped with an adequate sized tank to collect all blood and liquids released from the carcass. The vehicle must have a leak proof floor that is drained into a sump tank fitted to the vehicle.

    For dealing with the larger fallen stock it is recommended that the vehicle is equipped with a winch or other mechanical device for loading the carcase. The vehicle must have a lockable door and sealed cover. A flexible sheet roof is acceptable provided it is secure, impermeable, easy to clean, tight fitting and vermin proof and prevents the escape of odours and liquids.

    You should be aware of advice to farmers at paragraphs 11 and 12 above about the type of vehicle and collection arrangements which are recommended for pig and poultry farms in particular. You should at all times comply with any vehicle Licensing and Traffic Regulations particularly those regarding the loading and unloading of vehicles on the public highway and the proper licensing of vehicles.

  5. Before arrival at each and every farm, you must ensure that the outside of vehicles or trailers used to collect dead stock are cleansed and disinfected to the same standards required by the Transport of Animals )Cleansing and Disinfection) (England) Order 2003 and its equivalent in Scotland and Wales before the vehicle enters any premises. The inside and outside of the vehicle and fallen stock part of the vehicle or trailer must also be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected before the first pick up of the day.

  6. It is desirable that all collectors should fit automatic wheel and arch spray systems capable of cleaning wheels and wheel arches, to all vehicles. As a minimum all collectors must carry on the vehicle, at all times, a portable hand operated spray wash containing a general disinfectant mixed and ready for use in disinfecting wheels and external areas of the vehicle.

    The hand operated wash should use a disinfectant knapsack spray with a capacity of not less that 15 litres, carried on the vehicle and stored outside the drivers cab. All vehicles will be required to carry a spillage kit including granules for use in the event of a spillage or leakage from a vehicle. Care must be taken to prevent materials, including liquids, entering water courses according to the requirements of relevant legislation.

    You must only use disinfectants that are approved under the General Orders of the Diseases of Animals (Approved Disinfectants) Order 1978 at the specified dilution rates and in compliance with the labelling instructions. Information on approved disinfectants can be found on the Defra website at: disinfectants.htm.

  7. You could be required to use disinfectants approved for other purposes if there is an outbreak of a notifiable disease.

  8. On arrival, you should ideally park your vehicle on hard standing away from live farm animals and visibly free of animal excreta, slurry etc. You should not normally take collection vehicles or trailers into areas where farm animals have access. The farmer should be encouraged to use his own equipment or vehicles to remove fallen stock from fields or buildings.

  9. Before you leave the premises you must cleanse and disinfect your vehicle of all visible contamination with manure, slurry or similar material (including where appropriate, cleaning of the inside of vehicles, especially foot wells and pedals). If this is not possible, the outside of the vehicles and trailers must be cleansed and disinfected before they are taken onto another premises with farm animals. This may mean returning direct to the approved collection/disposal premises for a full clean-down before making another collection visit.

  10. On return to approved premises, the parts of the vehicle used for transporting the fallen stock must be thoroughly washed clean and disinfected as soon as practicable after the animal carcass is unloaded and must not be re-used until it is cleaned. In no event should the vehicle remain uncleaned for a period exceeding two hours after being emptied. Any blood or body fluids from the animal shall be transported and disposed with the animal.

    Clothing and Footwear.

  11. You must wear robust protective clothing and footwear while handling fallen stock. Collectors must carry personal protection equipment (gloves and eye protection for use where appropriate in accordance with any Health and Safety Guidelines). The purpose of the protective clothing is to prevent street clothes from being contaminated with manure, slurry, blood or other discharges from the fallen stock.

    Protective clothing must be cleansable and disinfectable after each premises has been visited and must be put on at the start of the visits and removed at the end, and stored outside the drivers cab.

  12. For the purposes of this Scheme it is considered that waterproof protective clothing and waterproof boots (with steel toe caps, if necessary) are used in most circumstances. These must be cleansed and disinfected before entering the premises and again at the end of the visit just before leaving the premises.

  13. Before you leave the premises, check that there is no manure or other animal product (e.g. mud, slurry, animal faeces, droppings, excretions) to be seen on your footwear, outer clothing, vehicle or anything else taken with you. Remove any visible contamination and cleanse with disinfectant.


  14. You must clean all equipment that you use before arrival and departure, making use of any facilities available Take great care when cleaning electrical apparatus or tools (e.g. hoists and pulleys) and observe health and safety rules.

    Source: National Pig Association - 13th January 2004

5m Editor