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Crying foul

Two St George farmers are crying foul after nearly 200 of their turkey stock were attacked by wild dogs.

Speaking to the media this morning at the Golden Ridge Farm in St George, co-owner Adrianne Norton revealed the onslaught had resulted in an estimated $25,000 lost to the farm. She said that so far 140 of the turkeys had died and 30 others were severely injured.

Norton noted that the attack would have occurred sometime between Sunday night and early Monday morning, since when they arrived yesterday morning to feed the poultry they saw the carnage. The wire on the pen, which is located at the back of the farm was bitten and dog paw prints were all over the ground. She said it was a devastating loss, given that they would have invested in pellets, time, financed four months worth of feed and incurred a “ginormous” feed bill which they still had to repay.

Furthermore, the attack is expected to have some impact on local turkeys in supermarkets as well, since Golden Ridge was the only farm on the island that reared turkeys all year round.

“[S]o we’ll have some for another couple weeks, but then we’ll have to take a break because we wouldn’t have turkeys until we get another supply that we can raise, she said.

Norton said the police “tried their best” after they were promptly contacted after the find and they investigated areas “above the farm” encouraging persons not to let their dogs loose.

However, Bill Tempro, fellow owner, was not too pleased. He told Barbados TODAY he was “totally fed up” with the situation. He explained that although it was one of the worst attacks recently, the farm had had a similar experience when its sheep were attacked. Nevertheless, he said, each time the police were called their unwavering question was: “Do you know who it is?”

“If I knew who it was, I wouldn’t contact them? I too old for this; I can’t tek it on no more, or I would put myself in trouble and say things I shouldn’t say,” he said as he noted the scourge of wild animals wass exacerbated by predial larceny.

“You in the sun working all day long, and when you go to reap the crop, somebody carry it way the night before. One night they carry way 300 turkeys –– this in one night last December, to bring it to a total of about 500 that they carry way. The rest they were taking a few at a time. So you didn’t notice it quickly [because] when you got 2,000 turkeys, you don’t notice if 25 missing.

And Tempro further said he believed the events, though not necessarily linked, were organized. “When you got 300 turkeys, you will have to have a process to kill them. If you don’t normally grow turkeys and you turn up at a processing plant, they should ask questions –– they don’t; and that is the problem.

“They have to go and sell them; so you have to put them in a deep freeze. You can’t put 300 turkeys in a normal deep freeze; so it got to be an organized thing; and it frustrating.

“I always say farmers are the most ignorant people in the world; because they keep doing it and think it will get better; but it don’t get better.”

Norton has, however, appealed to the owners of dogs to contact the agencies responsible for the caring of animals, if they believe they can no longer do such. “Don’t just let it lose or drop it somewhere. Call the Government Animal Control Department, call the RSPCA; there is the Ark, there are agencies that can come and help you take yourdog, find a home for it but just letting dogs lose is not the answer.

Agriculture is one of the ways we help with foreign exchange. We don’t have to spend foreign exchange to bring turkey in. If we don’t grow them then we have to go back to that.

“So it is a very important area for the economy of Barbados and Barbadians. We believe in doing the right thing; so that is what we

will try to keep doing,” she said. (KC)

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