The dispute between knackeries and renderers over recent significant hikes in rendering costs continues.

Knackery operators have cut back on animal collections from farms and some are refusing to facilitate BSE testing.

It is estimated that up to 2,000 cows aged over 48 months have not been tested for BSE at knackeries due to the strike. Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has not yet intervened in the standoff, but is advising knackeries to deliver fallen stock to Northern Ireland for rendering – at their own expense.

He has told farmers to apply for burial licences, in the event that they are not able to get a collector to remove dead animals from their farms.

The minister also said that the Department was not involved in the dispute and it was up to both parties to resolve their differences.

Dead animals are said to be “building up rapidly” in knackeries’ yards, which are expected to reach their full capacity in the coming days.