The Bermuda SPCA said that as a result of the “strike action” the island’s “livestock animals are now suffering and the livelihood of local farmers and feed stores is being threatened” as “shipping containers of animals feed which arrived in Bermuda on March 10 sit on the dock unable to be collected by the importer.”
“It is the Bermuda SPCA’s understanding that although containers of animal feed were ‘released’ on the docks yesterday, local livestock owners and some pet food stores were not given adequate time to organise container trucks on such short notice during the limited time window provided. This is simply unacceptable and has left some animals without appropriate feed putting their health in great danger.
“Paragraph 11 of Schedule One of the Labour Relations Act 1975 states “cattle and chicken food’ as essential services. Yet these feed containers have been unlawfully held on the docks since March 10, 2016. The Bermuda SPCA has been working closely with local feed stores and other large animal owners to provide the farmers whose animals are at risk what little food and hay is left on Island,” the SPCA continued.
“From an animal welfare stand point this is unacceptable. Dairy cows are being milked daily and require high levels of feed and hay to sustain their energy and their milk production and the future of the Island’s milk supply. We urge the Government and agencies involved to act now to protect our vital milk industry and prevent needless and cruel suffering of cows and other livestock animals on the island.”
“The Bermuda SPCA has expressed its concern to the Primer and relevant Ministers highlighting the negative affect the closure of the shipping docks is having on local animal owners, especially the dairy farmers,” states Sarah Haycock-Tafur, President of the Bermuda SPCA. “The next shipment is due to arrive tomorrow and with the docks closed these containers will also remain undelivered, leaving some animals without adequate feed for over a week!”
“One dairy farmer has stated that he is out of food for his heifer cattle and is having to substitute feed putting the health of these future milking cows in danger,” says Debbie Titterton Narraway, Interim Executive Director of the Bermuda SPCA. “Another dairy farmer is out of hay completely and has 3 days of feed remaining.”
“We have been purchasing and are arranging for feed and hay to be delivered to help these business owners with immediate needs, but this is no where near sufficient and the supplies on Island are dwindling even with the careful rationing,” Ms Narraway continues
“Our hope is that their shipments from March 10 and March 17 will be made available to them before this weekend, before the animals begin to suffer.”
Update: Polaris Holding CEO Warren Jones has responded to the concerns raised by the Bermuda SPCA, and his statement can be read here.
He said, “I was advised yesterday morning that one container was not picked up. However, that one container does not contain animal feed. This is the only container carrying essential goods that we were requested to offload which was not collected.”