Illegal animal slaughter operation uncovered in South Armagh

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Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Police in Newry and Mourne conducted searches in the South Armagh area today in partnership with DARD and Newry and Mourne District Council and supported by the Food Standards Agency. Searches of two properties in Forkhill and one in the Bessbrook area have now been completed. A suspected illegal animal slaughter and meat cutting operation was discovered and a number of items have been seized for examination. SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley described the news as “extremely worrying”. Bradley said, “News of this investigation is extremely worrying and has caused anxiety among those in industry and among the population in general. “Anything that calls into question the safety of the food chain is always concerning, especially in light of the horsemeat scandal. The fact several agencies are involved in this is all the more worrying. “People want to be assured that the food they are eating is safe and it is important that we are made aware as soon as possible just what is involved in today’s operation in relation to food-safety,” the SDLP MLA added. DUP MLA for Newry & Armagh William Irwin welcomed the action by police and other agencies involved.  “This operation would appear to be targeted at those involved in the illegal slaughtering of animals and the alleged subsequent sale of meat through retail outlets. “This is an issue which I have been aware of for some time with reports coming to me of illegal slaughtering plants in the area.” The DUP man continued, “There is a huge emphasis placed on traceability of meat products from the farm gate to the super market shelf and this is for very good reasons given the recent scares over horse meat. This current operation is highly important in a wider context and I am pleased to see some action being taken on the issue of illegal abattoirs in south Armagh. “Obviously the health risks to the public through contaminated meat produce sourced from illegal plants with no hygiene regulations or safety standards and most worrying no traceability in place, could be catastrophic and I think all right thinking people will welcome this operation by the Police and other agencies today.” Irwin says it is ‘high time’ the entire issue of rural crime and the blatant flouting of the law is taken into account and dealt with the most robust judicial fashion. He added, “No quarter can be given to those involved in this criminal activity and I would urge the public in this area to continue to provide information which will assist the Police in their inquiries.”
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