BSE: Cattle Disposal Schemes

Replacement of the OTM rule

Following the advice from the Food Standards Agency that it would be acceptable on health grounds to replace the rule with BSE testing of OTM cattle born after July 1996, on 15 September 2005 Ministers announced that the OTM rule would be replaced. Subsequently, on 7 November 2005 a system of BSE testing for OTM cattle was introduced. Cattle born or reared in the UK before 1 August 1996 remain excluded from the food chain.

Older Cattle Disposal Scheme (OCDS)

The OCDS was an exceptional market support measure providing for disposal of, and compensation for, cattle born or reared in the UK before August 1996. It replaced the Over Thirty Month Scheme on 23 January 2006 and ended on 31 December 2008.

While cattle born or reared in the UK before August 1 1996 may continue to be traded in the UK, it remains illegal to send them for slaughter in a fresh meat abattoir or to export them from the UK. These animals were born before the UK’s reinforced feed ban was considered effective and therefore have a higher prevalence of BSE. At the end of their productive lives, they must be disposed of as fallen cattle (i.e., cattle that die or are killed other than for human consumption), with testing for BSE. A leaflet (PDF) has been published which gives details of the arrangements for the disposal of fallen cattle from 1 January 2009 (for cattle aged 24-48 months) and from 12 January 2009 (for cattle aged over 48 months).

Number of animals slaughtered

The latest statistics for this scheme are available.



Page last modified: 6 February 2009