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Give a dog a bone? Oh no you don’t, says local bureaucrat

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 Council’s 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 pets.

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, Ceredigion’s 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: "It’s 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, they’re good for him. If he could understand what’s going on, I’m sure he wouldn’t 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 isn’t 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 don’t 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.