Dog owners are being warned to keep their pups away from private land in a bid to reduce crop contamination from dog poo.
In a post on social media, one islander warned that she had been cautioned by a farmer in the Sorel area who said that any dog walkers found on his land would be photographed and reported to the police – all in the hope of stopping their pet's waste from spoiling his potatoes.
Speaking about the farmer, dog walker Cindy Heys commented: “He has to undergo inspections to make sure the land is falls within their requirements to be a supplier. To enable him to fall within said requirements, he is having to "police" the area to make sure the land remains dog soiled free. At any given time, an inspection reveals dog mess on the land inspected then the farmer runs the risk of the crop being refused by the supermarket.”
While the Jersey Farmers’ Union (JFU) were not aware of this specific incident, they told Express that dogs roaming private farm land had been an ongoing issue.
Pictured: Potato planting in action.
Peter Le Maistre, JFU President, told Express: “It is not acceptable to be lifting potatoes that have dog waste all around. Obviously this is a case that’s been highlighted, but to all members of the public with dogs, the first thing I always think is that it’s common courtesy to speak to the land owner or the farmer and say, “Is it okay to walk across your field?” And then if they agree, like anywhere else, just keep them on a lead and pick up any waste that they leave.”
Although JFU farmers were not affected by the supermarket regulations, dog waste could have a bearing on the outcome of their regular Red Tractor and LEAF audits – standards by which farming professionals are to be monitored for quality.
“Somebody comes over and does a full audit on your farm. If you’ve got twenty fields, they will pick two at random, and then they’ll go and walk them and say, 'You say in your audit you check for glass or you check for dog waste, and look, I’ve got a whole pile of it here,'” Mr Le Maistre explained.
In this eventuality, farmers are likely to be handed a non-compliance order, or, at worst, could fail the audit.
“These things are taken seriously… [as] people don’t want food that’s contaminated with faeces or dog urine or anything else,” Mr Le Maistre added.
According to Mr Le Maistre, other crop contaminants include include glass bottles, which can be, “…picked up by some of our big machinery” and turned into shards.
William Church from the Jersey Royal Company highlighted that dogs off the lead might also serve to scare sheep who graze by the headlands – the borders of the fields.
“We encourage dog owners to be respectful to land and the countryside and keep them on a lead,” he said.
Some of the earliest outdoor slopes were uncovered and reworked at the weekend, ahead of the heavy rain that we've had yesterday and today pic.twitter.com/RFHKqanBg5— Jersey Royal Co (@JerseyRoyalCo) February 28, 2017
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