Operation targets animal abuse

A joint opereation has been launched to target animal abuse on vessels using the ports at Cairnryan.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Trading Standard Service joined forces with Police Scotland, the SSPCA and Trading Standards Scotland to monitor animal transportation and consumer goods at the Stena and P&O facilities.

Animal health and welfare officers worked with the police and SSPCA to target animal transporters. A similar operation carried out at the same time last year highlighted many problems with horse passports, with many horses travelling without documentation and some transporters found to be in possession of a significant number of passports which were not accompanied by horses.

The recent horsemeat scandal has highlighted the importance of effective enforcement of horse passport laws to ensure horse meat which should not be entering the human food chain does not end up on supermarket shelves.

Over the course of six days, a large number of vehicles were stopped, and only a minority required follow-up action. The vehicles stopped contained an approximate total of 12,000 animals, including horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, donkeys, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs. The welfare was generally very good and the correct documentation was provided in the vast majority of cases.

The council’s Trading Standards staff also worked with an investigator from Trading Standards Scotland, the new national body which hosts a specialist intelligence unit for national level consumer crime. Working together with the police, the three agencies were able to gather intelligence on traders suspected of being involved in counterfeiting and doorstep crime.

Further multi-agency work of this type is being planned at the ports in the future.