10 March 2001
Farmers query failure to take action
By Jeremy Hunt
FARMERS neighbouring the pig unit at the centre of investigations into foot-and-mouth disease outbreak are asking why it was allowed to continue trading.
Allegations of uncleanliness in a yard strewn with uncooked food, and overflowing slurry pits surrounded farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland.
No action over alleged uncleanliness was taken against the farm despite inspections by the Ministry of Agriculture and local trading standard officers.
Cheryl Lawson-Croome of Throckley near Heddon-on-the-Wall, who rents land adjoining the pig unit described the farm as “an absolute disgrace”.
She told Farmers Weekly: “Everyone wants to know why the authorities did not close them down. The entire area was filthy.”
“Flocks of birds would feed freely and the place provided a constant source of food for a family of foxes that had built a huge earth close nearby.”
MAFF officials at Carlisle said they were not prepared to comment on these observations because the holding is the subject of their investigations.
They confirmed that the farm was visited on 22 December last year but stressed that the inspection was instigated purely on animal welfare grounds.
“We were not aware that there was a catalogue of complaints.”
A follow-up visit in mid-January to check that necessary recommendations had been implemented found no sign of any disease among the pigs, said MAFF.
Bobby Waugh, who runs the Heddon-on-the-Wall unit, said he was a licensed swill feeder and all conditions at his farm met the current MAFF standards.