Abattoir warned over rotting carcasses

2011-08-23 00:00

THE abattoir in the Thornville area that has been dumping animal remains in pits in an open field near the homes of residents could face legal action if it continues with the dumping.

That was the warning given by health officials who visited the area yesterday.

The Witness reported yesterday that residents are complaining about the smell and potential health hazard from the pits where the remains have been buried.

This is the third time complaints have been raised about the abattoir, and the second time this year.

When The Witness visited the scene last week it found bones, hides and hooves protruding from the soil with a cow’s ribcage thrown on top of the enclosed pit.

The smell of rotting flesh was overpowering.

Brendan Rajoo, environmental health manager with the Richmond Municipality, said this is not the first time the abattoir has contravened health regulations.

“About five years ago they were cited for a similar offence. They had buried bones in their yard and a neighbor’s dog dug up the bones and took them to its owner’s yard.

“The owner wanted to find out where the bone came from and we subsequently discovered it was dug up from the abattoir’s yard.”

Rajoo said there are more efficient ways of disposing of the bones, such as selling them to be converted into animal feed.

The health officials warned the abattoir will face legal action if it contravenes the law again.

Said Rajoo, “There are poor people who reside in this area who might scavenge on this site, and the site is along a walkway for community members going to work.”

Bongiwe Nzimande, an environmental health practitioner with the Health Department said the abattoir was cited in April for burying animal remains.

“They had buried animal remains and carcasses and hooves, which is not allowed,” Nzimande said.

Rajoo said the owner of the abattoir has undertaken to bury only dry bones and erect a fence around the dumping site with an entrance only for its trucks, which it said will prevent scavenging.

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