Police warn about buying lamb slaughtered illegally - south Northants

A warning has gone out after scores of lambs have been illicitly slaughtered
A warning has gone out after scores of lambs have been illicitly slaughtered

Northants Police and Trading Standards are distributing leaflets to food outlets and shoppers as an investigation into illegal sheep butchery continues.

Operation Stock is investigating a number of incidents of illegal slaughter and butchery of sheep and lambs across the county this month.

The possibility that stolen meat could end up in the human food chain has led to concerns around animal welfare and food hygiene, with people advised against buying cheap meat in suspicious circumstances.

Anyone with information about the sale of meat in suspicious circumstances, or the incidents of illegal butchery, is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress, quoting Operation Stock.

Why illegal butchery of animals raises concerns:

Animal welfare – being slaughtered in the field outside of an approved slaughterhouse means that welfare in relation to handling and stunning is clearly ignored

The person killing the animals is highly unlikely to be a licensed slaughter man

There are processes and procedures followed in a slaughterhouse to ensure that animals are cleaned before they are slaughtered and bacteria such as salmonella or E. Coli do not contaminate the meat

The controls for preventing the meat from becoming contaminated by specified risk material e.g. brain or spleen, banned after the CJD outbreak will not have been followed,

The animals will have been slaughtered without confirmation of the food chain status – this means they may have received medical treatment and be within a drug withdrawal period when slaughtered

The meat will not have undergone a meat hygiene inspection and so the animals may have had undetected illnesses when they were killed

The meat will not be labelled or traceable as is required

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