30 carcasses left to rot
DOZENS of horse and farming animal corpses have been dumped illegally and left to rot in the Limavady Borough over the course of the past three years, the Environment Minister Alex Attwood has confirmed.
In a series of separate incidents dating back to 2010, the carcasses of agricultural and equestrian animals were dumped illegally on a shocking 23 occasions, with a total of 30 corpses illegally left to rot.
A council chief in Limavady tasked with looking after the environment has warned that the rotting carcasses could spread disease or poison water supplies. Noel Crawford, Director of Environmental Services at Limavady Borough Council, explained why it was so important animal carcasses are disposed of properly: “Carcasses need to be disposed of properly for a number of reasons. Firstly there is the risk of disease if they are just dumped because other animals- foxes, dogs, birds etc can scavenge on the carcass and this can spread disease.
He added: “Also there are the synthetic effects, obviously it would be very unsightly if there were rotting carcasses littering the land plus the odour that would come from them would be horrendous. In addition, if the carcass was dumped near a river there would be the risk of water pollution.”
The Environment Minister at Stormont, SDLP MLA Alex Attwood, had been asked to detail “how many cases of illegal dumping of agricultural and equestrian animal corpses have been reported and dealt with in each council area in each of the last three years, and how many individual carcasses were dumped”, by DUP MLA Lord Morrow.
The Minister replied in writing, providing a table containing a breakdown of the number of horse and farm animal corpses had been dumped illegally. In Limavady in 2010 four separate incidents were reported to council, with a total of six corpses dumped illegally. The following year there were 10 separate incidents reported and dealt with by the council and 13 corpses left to rot. This year there have been nine separate incidents to date and 11 horse and farm animal corpses illegally left to rot.
Limavady Borough Council has been forced to deal with the rotting carcasses of 30 horses or farm animals in the past three years.
Dr Frank O’Neill, a former environmental officer in the nearby Derry City Council, stated that the problem with disposal of animal carcasses may have arisen in recent years. He said: “It was in the 1990s, I believe, where the common practice was to allow farmers to dispose of them. It was later decided that environmental services would take over and dispose of the animals so as to prevent disease. There are a lot of contaminants.
“More recently, the cost was considered too high, and it was decided that councils would dispose of the animal carcasses for a fee, Since that time, it would appear that more farmers have decided that for short-term gain they will dispose of the animals themselves. It has gone backwards.”
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