'You shouldn't buy meat in the pub': Butchers worry food fraud is on the rise
Date of alert:
Monday, 12 September 2022
There are concerns that an increase in animal theft could be linked to the cost-of-living crisis, as criminals look to cash in on rising meat prices.
Around £2.4 million of cattle and sheep were stolen last year, according to an annual rural crime survey.
Overall, livestock theft increased 3.7% in 2021, compared to the year before.
In some cases, animals were slaughtered and butchered while still in farmers’ fields, meaning they did not undergo safety checks at a registered abattoir.
Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, which conducted the survey, said: “Livestock theft has always been an aspect of farming, but now it’s larger scale and much more organised."
She added: "With meat prices going up we may find that we see an increase in livestock being stolen and then being put into the illicit market."