FMD crisis: Business plummets at leading equestrian centre

  • The continuing FMD crisis is causing increasing losses for John and Anne Collier’s Blackdyke Farm Riding Centre near Carlisle in North Cumbria, the latest downturn due to the “indescribable” stench of tens of thousands of rotting carcasses slaughtered as part of MAFF’s cull policy.

    A BHS Centre of Excellence, Blackdyke Farm has seen business plummet by between 60% and 80% since the foot and mouth crisis began – that was before the stench blew in over Easter.

    Huge number of carcasses are being dumped daily at the licensed Hespin Wood tip just over a mile away. “People are finding it very unpleasant to come here,” said John Collier. “The smell is horrendous and there’s no end in sight!”

    Responsibility for controls would normally rest with the Environment Agency, but spokesman Hugh Taylor confirmed, “MAFF, under their legislation, can do pretty well what they want – they have insisted the people running the landfill site must take the carcasses – and the local authorities are left to deal with it all as best they can.”

    He also admitted that the current situation in the area “is overwhelming normal systems, but we are working on it.

    “We have written to both the site operators and MAFF and asked them to consult with local residents.”

    For the Colliers however, the situation is directly at odds with the government’s “Come Back To The Countryside” message.

    “This isn’t attractive to customers,”said John. “It’s adding to the negative effects on our business and no-one seems to be able to do anything about it!”

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