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Audit Office slams inaction over illegal livestock farms

Cedar Valley
File photo: Cedar Valley

The Audit Office on Monday decried what they see as inaction on the part of the veterinary services regarding the operation of illegal livestock farms on protected land.

Its upset at the state of affairs was registered in its report into the agriculture ministry and affiliated departments, which was released on Monday.

The report centred on one “large livestock unit”, consisting of a warehouse and a residential property, which is located on a farm built on church land in the Paphos village of Ayios Ioannis.

The report said the farm is not registered, has not secured any relevant permits, and is located in the Chanoutaris Cliffs special protection zone, which lies adjacent to the Paphos forest and the Cedar Valley Natura 2000 area.

They said they had filed two complaints on the matter in previous special reports, penned in March 2022 and December 2022 respectively, but that “the illegal livestock estates still exist and operate, years after they were pointed out.”

In this regard, the service raised questions over violations of laws pertaining to the registration, marking and monitoring of Cyprus’ animal population, given the fact that none of this could possibly have happened on an illegal and unregistered farm.

They also raised questions regarding the fate of the products produced, given that a farm of the size reported would likely produce large quantities of milk or meat, and the consequences that the dissemination into society of unchecked milk or meat may have for public health.

They said that over a year ago, they had pointed out the government’s “inadequate handling” of the case to then-Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos, but that no action has yet been taken by central government or by Paphos’ district authorities.

 

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