Dumped rotting gamebird carcases pose risk to human health

Gamebird carcases have been found rotting in a ditch in Beulah, South Wales, prompting a Welsh Assembly member to ask what can be done about the risk to human health.

Gamebird carcases have been found rotting in a ditch in Beulah, South Wales, prompting Welsh Assembly member Peter Black to ask Carwyn Jones, minister for the countryside, what can be done about the risk to human health.

Black is concerned about the risk because as well as being illegal, the dumping of vast numbers of carcases is associated with diseases such as salmonella, sickness and diarrhoea.

The former veterinary advisor to the Welsh Office, John Campbell said: "What is worrying is that we do not know what caused these birds' deaths. Their presence vastly increases the bacterial load in the area and possibly the local water courses if there is run-off.

"These pits attract predators, such as foxes, rats, crows and hawks which can lead to the spread of diseases. Decomposing carcasses are also unfavourable environments for many viruses, and one is thinking in terms of avian influenza."

The discovery has led to an investigation into the mass dumping of gamebird carcases and their eggs at the Beulah Shoot, near Llanwrtyd Wells, by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports.

Their chief executive Douglas Batchelor said: "I thought I was hardened to the excesses of the shooting industry but seeing these pictures does, literally, make the stomach churn."

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