A farming union has warned of the dangers of fly-tipping after a calf died while choking on a crisp packet.
NFU Scotland has reported a spike in illegal dumping, with perpetrators targeting fields, laybys and country roads to dispose of household waste during the coronavirus lockdown.
The behaviour poses a serious risk to the health of livestock, with the organisation representing the farming industry claiming a young calf was killed after it choked on a crisp bag on a farm this week.
Other problems have included domestic and garden waste appearing in the countryside, while ground care workers have dumped cuttings and clippings straight into farmers’ fields.
Penny Middleton, NFU Scotland animal health and welfare policy manager, said: “It is so disappointing to see people continuing to use our beautiful countryside as a giant tip but, with the upturn in the weather and people working in their gardens, the surge in garden waste being dumped will result in animals dying.
“Litter and waste of any kind can cause hazards for livestock and wildlife, so dumping it in the countryside or on farmland is extremely dangerous.
‘The distressing report of a young calf choking on a crisp bag is dreadful but highlights just what impact such reckless behaviour can have.’Penny Middleton, NFU Scotland animal health and welfare policy manager
“The distressing report of a young calf choking on a crisp bag is dreadful but highlights just what impact such reckless behaviour can have.
“Animals are naturally curious and will investigate foreign objects left in their environment. Hazards can include injury from sharp edges and protruding objects or the risk of becoming caught up or entangled in waste materials.
“Finally, waste may contain substances that are toxic to animals or the environment. Lead poisoning can be quite common where car batteries or other waste materials are dumped and substances like antifreeze are attractive to animals but extremely toxic.
“Of immediate concern is the amount of garden waste now being dumped. If that waste contains plants like yew or rhododendron it will quickly cause death in cattle and sheep if eaten. Similarly, grass cuttings pose a significant danger to horses.
“The plea to the public, for the health of livestock and wildlife, is please store your waste until lockdown is over then dispose of it responsibly.”