Pig update: Officials awaiting inspectors report

by: Lededra Marche, News Editor

The Department of Agriculture is reportedly awaiting the reports of the inspector and veterinarian out of the capital who flew over to look into conditions at a makeshift farm in East Grand Bahama.

Last month, the Humane Society of Grand Bahama (HSGB) sounded the alarm over the inhumane conditions in which nine pigs and more than 50 goats were being subjected to, The goats were observed roaming wild on the property and the pigs were encaged, when The Freeport News team arrived on the scene.

A number of pigs appeared to be badly malnourished.

HSG Managing Director Elizabeth 'Tip' Burrows guided our newsteam onto the property, which appeared to be a construction/dump site in the middle of a pine tree forest.

A tourist exploring a number of the track roads in the area stumbled on to the site and alerted Burrows who then alerted police and Agriculture officials.

However, frustrated over the entire process, Burrows, who has made contact with Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray and the veterinarian via email, said ascertaining what has been done, if anything, has been difficult.

The animal lover revealed that she had sent a report and request 10 days after the initial complaint was made and has been told it would take two to three weeks to get a reply.

" We brought a legitimate complaint and having it address if it is, is very frustrating,"  she said, while questioning who is following up on the situation and how often.

Burrows added that their initial complaint was on the basis of animal cruelty, not whether the farm is acceptable and believes that while she is waiting for a reply, the matter is not being properly addressed.

" I didn't think that the pigs, especially those that were in the pen, looked healthy and cared for. I thought it was a horrendous case of animal cruelty,"  she said.

In fact, Burrows believes the pigs should have been removed and all of the animals should have been in cages and cared for properly.

" This is another reason why The Bahamas needs a Freedom of Information Act. I think that there are certain things that affect the public that the public has a right to know about,"  she said.

According to Agriculture officials, the situation is being monitored.

Melanie Williams, officer in charge of the Department of Agriculture, informed The Freeport News yesterday she was waiting on a report from inspectors in New Providence and that an inspector goes out to check on the property once a week.

The Freeport News has also learned that Agriculture officials have been in contact with the owner and he has been advised to bring the grounds up to better standards.

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