Farmers are reportedly considering resorting to installing CCTV in their fields or using retina scans on their sheep due to the rise in livestock rustling across the country. In some parts, insurance claims are said to have increased by as much as twenty per cent as farm animals disappear.
The fear is that these stolen animals are being taken to illegal slaughterhouses and the meat then sold on to butchers and restaurants. In these straightened times it seems logical that some cash-strapped businesses may consider purchasing such products in an attempt to reduce costs.
Unfortunately, illegal abattoirs cannot be controlled or inspected to ensure they are respecting food hygiene standards. There can be no guarantee that meat coming from stolen animals is not contaminated with bacteria that could pose a serious risk to any humans who might consume it.
Nobody in their right mind would want to buy meat prepared by an amateur who has no food safety training, in premises that do not comply with official standards… Or would they? All the evidence points towards a growing black market that will prove difficult to crack for as long as there are people willing to buy the produce.