Fallen 'stock' contains disease which is then passed onto the dogs. Many of these diseases will then be put back into the countryside as the dogs do what dogs do while running across farm to farm on a day’s hunting.
CHRIS PITT: ‘There is a painful truth about disease in the UK countryside. These diseases among farm animals cause death and financial loss on a huge scale… One way that disease can spread has been identified as a problem for many years. Traditionally, fox hunts in the UK have offered ‘a service’ to farms to take away livestock that has died. These animals – known as ‘fallen stock’ – are then fed to the hunts’ packs of hounds. This saves the farms money as they don’t have to incinerate the bodies, and it saves the hunts money on dog food. However, there’s a problem. It’s been known for decades that fallen stock contains disease which is then passed onto the dogs. Many of these diseases will then be put back into the countryside as the dogs do what dogs do while running across farm to farm on a day’s hunting.
For some diseases, such as equine hydatidosis, feeding hounds on raw meat and offal after the Second World War was the major factor leading to a dramatic increase in both the prevalence and distribution of the disease. For diseases such as ovine hydatidosis and sheep tapeworms that cause a major economic loss to farmers, hunts make a significant contribution to maintaining and spreading the infections. Twenty years ago the EU’s Scientific Steering Committee said that, because it was impossible to determine the cause of death for each animal, fallen stock should not be fed to hounds.
It’s therefore known to be a problem – potentially hundreds of thousands of deceased animals are fed to hunting hounds. Examples of diseases which can be spread between livestock and dogs include Neosporosis, Sarcocystosis, Cysticercus ovis, Johne’s disease and Toxoplasmosis to name but a few. Most of us won’t recognise these diseases – but farmers will know exactly the damage they cause. It’s clear that the feeding of fallen stock to hunting hounds poses a clear and present danger to the health of both livestock and dogs. So why has it been allowed to continue?’ SOURCE…