Livestock theft up, farmers urged to be vigilant
The Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit is advising farmers and consumers to increase their vigilance during the festive season and beyond, as there has been an upsurge in the theft of livestock, mainly goats.
Speaking with JIS News, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Praedial Larceny Prevention Officer, Sergeant Damian Harry, said the upsurge in farm theft is due to an increase in recreational activities during the festive season, with meals consisting of goat meat being the favourites.
The police have, therefore, increased operations in terms of ‘stop and search’ on the roadways to try and intercept the transportation of stolen livestock or meats.
“We have also increased operations in targeted raids on slaughterhouses, because animals are being slaughtered illegally and a lot of slaughterhouses are operating illegally,” Sergeant Harry said.
He noted that, just recently, several persons were arrested for breaches of the various public health regulations, the Agricultural Produce Act and the Corruption Prevention Act.
To better protect themselves and their investments, farmers are encouraged to keep proper records and to ensure that their animals have some unique identification marks, such as tattoos, tags or any other markings, so that they can be easily identified in case they are stolen or slaughtered.
Sergeant Harry is also urging farmers to install warning systems, fence their property and remove the bush in and around the farm. He said it is important to build partnerships by joining neighbourhood- and farm-watch groups and to engage the local police.
He reiterated the importance of reporting farm theft to the police.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Harry is advising consumers that food safety is very important, so they should ensure that when purchasing food items, they purchase from reputable sources.
“Whenever you purchase meat, ensure that it is from a reputable establishment and that the meat has been inspected by the public health inspector and stamped, and is fit for consumption,” he said.
Sergeant Harry is reminding butchers that they are required by law, prior to slaughtering animals, to give the police at least 12 hours’ notice.
Butchers should visit the police station closest to the location of slaughter and notify the police of the type of animal and the amount they intend to slaughter.
“What we have found is that during our enforcement effort, 90 per cent of the butchers are not fulfilling this legal requirement, so we have begun to prosecute butchers under the Licence of Control Order for failing to give notice of intention,” he said.
To report farm theft, persons may call Crime Stop at 311.