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Pig farmer given until month end to cease operations

Pig farmer given until month end to cease operations

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The rearing of pigs in residential areas is strictly prohibited in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Chief environmental health officer in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment Neri James made this clear during an interview with SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week.{{more}}

James spoke with us, following complaints by villagers in North Union about a pig farm which was being operated in the area by farmer Mark Smart.

In an article published in SEARCHLIGHT on February 13, Smart’s neigbours complained that waste water from his pig pens were running on to their lands — destroying their crops, while other villagers complained about the foul scent.

“In no way do we accept persons to rear pigs in residental areas. One of the reasons for this is that pigs produce large amounts of waste,” James told SEARCHLIGHT.

“We got a complaint from persons in the area about a foul smell. We checked and saw more than 60 pigs being reared in a residental area.”

However, during a visit to his home on February 10, Smart said he was rearing 44 pigs.

James said the Public Health Department (PHD) has given Smart until the end of this month to cease his pig farming operations.

James explained that Smart has violated the Environmental Health Service Act, number 14 of 1991.

Section 11, subsection (1) of the Act states: “No person shall create or allow to exist on or emanate from premises which he owns or occupies, conditions which are insanitary or constitute a nuisance or are conducive to the breeding or harbouring of rodents, insects, pests, termites or other vermin.”

James further explained that if Smart does not comply with their order to close the pig farm in the specified time given, he may be subject to legal proceedings.

“His activity is not conducive to the environment there. What we are doing is nothing strange,” James said.

Asked if Smart was given permission to start a pig farm in his yard, James replied, “Not to my knowledge. No.”

James further stated that if Smart decides to start a pig farm elsewhere, he must first apply to the Physical Planning Department for approval and that application will then be passed on to the PHD, who will advise accordingly.

Although Smart has been told that he has to close up shop, he has been doing remedial work on the farm, to reduce the effects of his activities on his neighbours.

He had told SEARCHLIGHT that he was trying to sell the pigs, but was finding it difficult to do so.

In the past two years, two similar pig farming businesses, operated by two prominent persons in the Windward area, have been closed down by the PHD, following a breach of the Environmental Health Service Act.(KW)

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