With the holiday season approaching, Commissioner of Agriculture Carlos Robles reminds consumers to buy local meat only from known livestock farmers. At this time of year, many animals are stolen and slaughtered in the bush and then are sold to unsuspecting consumers who could be harmed.
“Theft of animals results in a loss of income to the farmers, loss of breeding stock and in some cases the end of the family business. Animals are assets to the business. Theft of animals is a very serious crime,” said Robles.
According to Dr. Bethany Bradford, director of veterinary services, livestock farmers look forward to the holidays as an opportunity to provide a fresh wholesome product for their customers. Only the farmer knows which animals are ready for slaughter. Some animals may have been medicated as part of keeping them healthy and cannot be slaughtered for a certain period of time.
Thieves are not concerned about the health status of any animal or whether it has been medicated. Thieves will steal any medicated animal for slaughter or offer diseased meat for sale. Additionally, any bush kill is not sanitary and poses a health risk to consumers.
VIDOA urges consumers to be safe. Know who is selling meat. Buy local meat only from known livestock farmers, and buy meat that has been inspected and stamped by the VIDOA abattoir.
For more information or to report bush kill or stolen livestock, contact VIDOA St. Croix at 778-0998, St. Thomas at 774-5182 and St. John at 776-6274.