The NPA has issued a strong warning to producers after a farmer from Halifax was fined £4,000 for feeding meat sandwiches to pigs.
Simon John Tallis, 47, of Newlands Road, Warley, Halifax, pleaded guilty to two offences relating to breaches of legislation introduced to cut the risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMS) affecting UK livestock.
Appearing before Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on Friday, July 14, the farmer was fined £4000 and ordered to pay a further £2000 in costs.
Officers from Calderdale Council and West Yorkshire Trading Standards found a large number of sandwiches containing meat products on site, along with equipment to feed the sandwiches to animals in October 2016. Mr Tallis confirmed that he had been feeding the sandwiches to pigs on the farm.
It is illegal to feed meat, meat products, catering waste and kitchen scraps to farmed animals, a regulation introduced after the 2001 FMD outbreak was officially blamed on the feeding of swill on a Northumberland pig farm. The 2000 Classical Swine Fever (CSF) outbreak was also thought to have been caused by a pig eating a ham sandwich dropped into a field.
Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The sentence passed to Mr Tallis reflects the seriousness of the lack of care shown to his animals. Our Animal Health and Welfare Officer works hard with local farmers to ensure that this kind of incident rarely happens in our area.
“We urge local people to follow the legislation to help prevent potentially devastating animal diseases from being introduced and spread.”
With African Swine Fever (ASF) a major problem in eastern Europe and recently having spread to the Czech Republic, the need for the UK pig sector to show maximum diligence has never been more important, according to NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford.
Georgina said: “This could have been a disaster for the UK pig sector and the wider farming industry. If just one pig becomes infected with ASF, FMD, CSF or any other diseases potentially spread via infected meat, it could effectively close down our industry, stop our burgeoning export market in its tracks and cause untold damage to the wider farming community.
“These rules are in place for a very good reason and we would like to remind all farmers and pig keepers in the strongest possible terms that they must be adhered to at all times. There is never a good reason to feed pigs meat or any catering waste. The potential cost to our industry is too great.
“We also issue a plea to the Government and local authorities to ensure these rules are properly implemented and to that our borders are fully protected, particularly as we contemplate our exit from the EU.”
Catering waste means all waste food originating in restaurants, catering facilities and household kitchens. Due to the risk of cross-contamination, this includes vegetarian kitchens, where products of animal origin such as milk are used in food preparation.