By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A Cabinet minister yesterday said samples of animal feed, which Bahamian farmers believe is responsible for hundreds of livestock deaths, have been sent off for testing.
V. Alfred Gray, minister of agriculture and marine resources Minister, said that while he does not agree with the farmers’ argument, tests would determine conclusively the cause of recent pig deaths.
“I’m not sure why the farmers would conclude that it is the cause of the pig deaths. We have taken some of the feed and sent it off for testing,” the Minister said.
“We are awaiting the conclusion of the test. I think that’s a reasonable position because we don’t want to agree with them until we have determined conclusively whether that batch of food was, in fact, contaminated as they claim.”
One farmer, speaking with Tribune Business last week, claimed he had lost close to 50 pigs and more than $35,000 as a result of a ‘bad batch of feed’.
Mr Gray acknowledged that several animals at the Gladstone Road Agriculture Centre (GRAC) have also died in recent weeks.
“That batch of feed that they claim was contaminated is finished. They have a new shipment. The feed mill is up and running; we have a new shipment of food. We have a nutritionist on-site but what we don’t have is a sufficient testing facility to test for poison and the rest of it,” Mr Gray said.
“Several animals have died in Exuma and at Gladstone Road. It may be something in the air. The Exuma pigs did, too, eat our food. It may be something airborne but we don’t know, so I need to have the results of the tests. We are not in the business of speculating. I want to have conclusive evidence that I could rely on.”
Mr Gray said once the test results are completed, they will be made public. “We sent samples to be tested and, once testing concludes, if contamination is there we will make that public as well,” he added.