Risks From Stolen Sheep

Trading Standards Advice After Recent Incidents

Councillor Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member responsible for Trading Standards, which oversees food and animal welfare enforcement in partnership with Environmental Health, provided guidance on the dangers of buying cheap meat from unlicensed slaughterers, following the recent incidents of lambs slaughtered illegally in fields

“These cases raise real animal welfare and food safety concerns as the people doing this are following none of the legally required processes or standards.

“Being slaughtered in a field, not an approved slaughterhouse, means animal welfare considerations around handling and stunning are clearly being ignored, and those killing the animals are highly unlikely to be licensed slaughterers.

“In terms of the meat being taken, the hygiene and anti-contamination processes followed in slaughterhouses are also obviously not taking place, and the animals have been slaughtered without confirmation of food chain status.

“This means they may have recently received medication which would mean they could not enter the food chain for a set period of time, making their meat potentially unfit for consumption.

“Similarly the meat will not have undergone a meat hygiene inspection which would pick up any undetected illnesses the animals may have had when killed, and the meat will not be labelled or traceable as is required.

“If you are offered cheap meat, it may not be safe, nor meet animal welfare or food standards, so if you have any doubt, do not buy or eat it, and report your concerns to us or to the police.”

Anyone with information about any of the offences, or suspicious activity around livestock, should call Northamptonshire Police on 101, quoting Operation Stock. In an emergency, always call 999.

Contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 03454 04 05 06, or online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/

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