With the upcoming holiday season, Commissioner of Agriculture Carlos Robles would like to remind 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 are then 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 burglary and a crime.” The commissioner said.
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 do not know if an animal is healthy or if it has been medicated. Thieves will steal any animal and may slaughter and sell medicated or diseased meat which could harm consumers,” Bradford said.
The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) urges consumers to buy local meat products only from known livestock farmers or licensed retailers.
For more information or to report stolen livestock, contact the VIDOA St. Croix at 778-0997, St. Thomas at 774-5182 or St. John at 423-9022.