Hunts may be forced to review charges for handling fallen stock in 2011 as rendering plants and collectors increase prices.

Many hunts provide a service to farmers, putting down stock or collecting dead animals and horses for a small fee, and much of the meat is used to feed the hounds.

But the remainder is sent to rendering plants.

One plant in the south-west — PDM — has raised its prices by £30 a tonne to cover fuel increases and environmental charges, and hunts fear other companies will follow suit around Britain.

The Masters of Foxhounds Association director Alastair Jackson said: “The increasing costs of disposal means that it would probably be cheaper to feed hounds on standard pet food rather than flesh from fallen stock, but hunts provide a service to farmers and horse owners and no one wants that to change.”

The Wiltshire-based Avon Vale hunt sends its waste to JL Thomas of Exeter — part of the PDM Group.

Kennel huntsman Nick Bycroft said: “We produce between three and four tonnes of animal waste per week — that’s an extra £400 each month.”

Derbyshire’s Barlow hunt reviews its fallen stock charges every six months.

Chairman Fraser Wakerley said: “Cost increases are inevitable, but we will try to keep these to a minimum.”

And Somerset-based Mendip Farmers’ huntsman Richard Standing estimates he is spending an extra 50% on waste disposal this season.

Collection charges by the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) — of which hunt kennels account for 5.7% of registered collectors — will also be reviewed next year.

A spokesman for the PDM Group said: “Energy costs have forced us to review our charges.”

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 18 November ’10