Thursday, 28 February 2013

Are diseased and abandoned animals being used in feed?

(Illustration only)
Laboratory also checking hamburger 'beef'
VIGO The nature conservation unit of the Guardia Civil, Seprona, is investigating the possibility that the remains of sick and abandoned animals are being used to make compound feed at a meat processing plant in Galicia, according to information released earlier this month. The investigation, which began in May 2010, arises from a number of complaints among which is from an animal rescue centre at Cambras, against several transport companies that are now under investigation as well. The feed has apparently been distributed among several dozens of pet and cattle feed manufacturers, including some outside Spain. The dangers inherent in including sick animals in the mix is best illustrated by the mad cow disease saga of just a few years ago, all over Europe.>>>
In May 2010, Seprona discovered two warehouses being used to store clandestine dead animals in the village of As Neves, Pontevedra, one of which contained fifteen tons of bodies. Similar places elsewhere in Galicia had been found previously, though in less alarming quantities.

A laboratory in Vigo is presently tracing DNA of dogs and sheep in feed all over the country, received from numerous health authorities that suspect the inclusion of the dangerous processed feed, thanks to reports about the transport companies above. Results are expected next week.

The laboratory, Anfaco-Cecopesca is the only one in the entire country accredited to identify animal species through DNA sequencing. It has also recently received a rush of tests on hamburgers. Most of these, however, have been 'correct', though there are some 'in process'. It is possible that this is the lab that has discovered horse meat in processed 'beef', though this is subject to confirmation from reluctant health authorities.

Regarding the use of abandoned and sick animals, as well as some that come from zoos, for processing into pellet feeds, the head of the molecular biology unit at Anfaco, Montse Espiñeira, warns that it would put the 'whole food chain' at risk.

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