The BBC are running an item this morning about sheep, cattle, pig and bee stealing.
See the video report here.
BBC - Search results for sheep stealing
The pig farmer in the report is near to where we live and the details had been in our local paper the week before last. It really saddens me to see that we are getting to the point where we are going out and stealing food, or stealing animals for meat to make a quick profit somewhere.
The other issue which worries me even more though, is if these animals are being stolen to go into the UK food chain, either as fresh meat or to be incorporated into meat products, under what circumstances are they being slaughtered and stored? Are the meat carcasses being stored properly, at the right temperatures, in clean conditions?
I made what I felt was a mistake I learned from some years ago, one which I have never repeated. I bought some meat from a van at a car boot sale. It was supposed to be pork. It looked like pork, but when I cooked it later that day, it had a funny smell and was a strange colour. It went straight in the bin, we had egg and chips for dinner and I had paid hard earned money for heaven knows what.
Now I am not saying that all mobile butchers at car boots and markets are vending unfit meat - far from it, at one of my local regular car boots there is a very reputable butchers that sell there and have been doing so for at least 10 years that I know of. But it does concern me that if I was on a low income or looking to grab a bargain, I might again be tempted to go for what seems like cheap meat and in actual fact its either not cheap because its ends up being thrown away (as did my strange pork) or more worryingly might actually be unhealthy or contaminated in some way.
The last item in the video really did make me sad. It looked at bee hives which had been stolen, 18 of them. The bee population is already in decline for reasons we are not totally sure about, to steal hives and some of them were breeding hives is awful. Without bees we cant survive, no pollination equals no food.
How sad must that bee keeper be feeling? I spoke to Malcolm my bee keeping friend this morning abut it and he was really angry. He has been looking after 10 hives over the winter, 7 of them for other people. Out of 10 hives only 2 have made it through to the spring and even then the numbers of bees are dramatically down for what he would normally expect to see at this time of year.
I can only sympathise with the farmers and the bee keepers and hope that this stealing stops, for all our sakes.