Live ewe in carcass lorry; says protester

Western Mail 16 April 2001

PROTESTERS campaigning against the burial of livestock slaughtered as a result of the foot-and-mouth crisis claim a live sheep was found among dumped carcasses.

The Epynt Action Group says it has received an eye witness account of the incident on the Epynt firing ranges at Sennybridge near Brecon.

Action group volunteer Meryl Davies said a soldier working on the ranges told a villager what he had seen.

"He said that a carcass lorry was tipping its load into the burial pit at Epynt in front of Maff officials when a ewe stood up from the middle of the pile of carcasses, shook herself and took off down the pit," said Mrs Davies. "The soldier said the officials’ chins hit the ground."

She said local farmers were extremely worried about what happened to the escaped sheep, "People are horrified, not only from an animal welfare point of view ---imagine being stuck in a carcass lorry with a mound of dead sheep — but there are still sheep on the Epynt.

"The site is supposed to be fenced off, but we don’t know how high the fences are and sheep can jump over fences.

"And we are all desperately worried about what’s going to happen to us as a result of the effluent coming out of the pit.

"The Environment Agency found traces of blood and body fluids from the carcasses in a borehole close to the pit.

"We are being reassured by the Environment Agency but how do they know it is safe?

"They have no experience of what is happening here and nothing to compare it with."

The group has taken over the disused Greystones Motel opposite the entrance to the burning and burial site at Llywel.

The disused motel served as a police base when operations began on the site, but most of the police have now left and the protesters say the owner has given them permission to use the motel for surveillance purposes.

And the action group is appealing for more people to help monitor lorries arriving at the site. A public meeting is to be held at Trecastle Community Centre at 3pm today.

And until last night’s announcement that disposal of slaughtered carcasses had been suspended pending an inquiry into pollution there, the group had planned to apply for an injunction to stop further burial.

A notice of intent to apply for an injunction was to have been filed at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Thursday evening, but the action group agreed to wait until after a meeting tomorrow between Assembly representatives, environmental experts, protesters and their legal advisors.

A spokeswoman for the National Assembly said it had no knowledge of the alleged incident involving the live sheep found among the carcasses. "All we have is an account of an alleged first-hand account," she said. "There are no facts at all. It’s just rumours.