OLD MOTHER Hubbard would be up in arms about it. Butchers
in Wales are angry and their dog-owning customers are howling
with rage. The time-honoured practice of adding a free, juicy
bone for the hound to the weekly meat order is under threat
inevitably - from an EU regulation. Ceredigion County
Councils decision to give warning to the butchers of
West Wales that they will be breaking the law if they continue
"supplying domestic animals with bones, meat trimmings
etc" has brought howls of protest..and not just from
The regulations were intended to prevent the recycling of condemned meat for food by unscrupulous dealers. The Animal By-Product Regulations 2003 make it illegal to dispose of waste meat by any means other than incineration or rendering at an approved plant.
A letter from Brian Davies, Ceredigions Environmental Health Officer, informs butchers that "the practice of supplying domestic animals with bones, meat trimmings etc, must be discontinued".
Huw Williams, assistant director for environmental services at the council, blamed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). "The new legislation has been introduced by DEFRA and, as a local authority, we have a duty to enforce it," he said. "This is a regulation that has come from Europe."
Aled Morgan, 35, a butcher in Aberystwyth, said: "Its just going to cost more money, at least £2,000 a year, to dispose of the fat and bones."
Martin Swanson, 32, from Aberystwyth, said: "My dog Arnie loves bones, theyre good for him. If he could understand whats going on, Im sure he wouldnt be happy."
There was consternation at DEFRA. A spokeswoman suggested that the council had "over-interpreted" the regulations but added: "If something is sold for consumption by a pet, then it clearly isnt waste."
The whole saga once again seems to be that Britain in this case Ceredigion Environmental Health Department rigorously enforces EU regulations to the letter, whereas certain other countries in Europe routinely dismiss any such legislation they dont like with a Gallic or Teutonic shrug.
However, the word is that the butchers of Ceredigion are going to adopt the same approach, so no dog will miss out on his bone. Some freedoms are just too important to surrender to Europe.