Ten thousand fewer pigs were slaughtered this year than in 1966.
The most important factor bearing on this reduction was an
industrial dispute early in the year, which lasted several weeks,
involving the engineers responsible for maintaining the supply of
steam and mechanical equipment of the slaughterhouse. This had
the effect of seriously restricting the hours available for slaughtering
each day and also created difficulties in the matter of keeping the
slaughterhouse clean. Large numbers of pigs were diverted to
other slaughterhouses during the period of the dispute.
The other cause was the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease
in October which was still active in many parts of the country at
the end of the year with little immediate prospect of the epidemic
coming to an end.
Despite the setback caused by the Foot and Mouth disease
epidemic which is of serious national importance and concern, the
health of livestock generally continues to improve as one disease
after another is brought under control.
Tuberculosis in cattle and Swine Fever in pigs are diseases which
a few years ago not only caused serious losses to livestock
producers but were also the reason for large quantities of carcase
meat and offal being condemned at slaughterhouses. These diseases
have been successfully stamped out by the vigorous policies of
eradication initiated and carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture.
It is of particular local significance and importance to report that
of nearly ten thousand cattle, obtained from almost every producing
area in England and Wales, and slaughtered and inspected at the
Plumstead slaughterhouse during the year, not one incidence of
tuberculosis was observed. Such a result is the highest possible
tribute to the success attained by the Ministry's tuberculosis
eradication scheme completed in 1960.
Another significant success obtained over the last few years is the
eradication of the warble-fly which formerly caused serious damage
to the hides and skin of cattle, quite apart from the debilitating
effect on the animals afflicted by the infestation.
It is highly improbable, however, despite these success stories
that a stage will be reached when, except perhaps in the smallest
slaughterhouse, there will be no condemnation. In this connection,
for a variety of reasons and conditions, 35½ tons of offal and carcase
meat was declared unfit for human consumption during the year.
Pig offal, mainly lungs with respiratory infections, and bovine livers
infested with liver flukes or otherwise infected by abscesses, make
up the bulk of items condemned because of their unwholesome
There were 2,700 bovine livers condemned for the above reasons,
weighing more than 12 tons. Nineteen hundred of these livers were