Complaints on Hiiumaa after animal carcasses left to rot in the open
A number of animal carcasses brought to a dedicated disposal site on the island of Hiiumaa have not been properly buried, resulting in the remains being exposed, sparking complaints.
Hiiu Autotrans, a subcontractor of the joint-stock company Vireen Hiiumaa AS and the company responsible for the disposal, has pledged to rectify the situation by bringing in extra earth for that purpose.
The stench of, well, dead animals hangs in the air, and from beyond the site's fencing, it could be clearly that a number of carcasses in various states of decomposition are either barely covered by a thin layer of sand, or essentially exposed to the elements, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday.
The site is managed by the limited company Hiiu Autotrans, which in turn is headed by the Hiiumaa Rural Municipality council chair, Anu Pielberg, AK reported.
Pielberg said the issue relates to the facility being filled to capacity.
The carcasses are primarily those of domestic farm animals (see gallery below).
"Sand has to be transported to the site. Interment day was yesterday; there were a few sheep and cattle, but the driver relayed information that it wasn't possible to bury them anywhere, and that both a tractor and a consignment of more sand is required."
AK received a tip-off to the effect that the problem is not a new one; not only are the remains in the site skeletonized, but the nearby forest is littered with bones, discarded by scavenging wildlife.
That these older remains are present too Pielberg put down to the nature of the sandy soil at the facility.
"The yard is built on sand at this site, meaning foxes can dig through from below, plus carrion birds from above ... Because the soil is sandy, it tends to subside [after burial] but when the carcass starts to decompose it releases gases, then the sand sinks further down and the remains start to rise to the surface."
Since this suggests an alternative long-term solution to the problem might be needed, Tarmo Terav, manager of Vireen AS, Hiiu Autotrans' holding company, said one such solution may arise if the state agrees to sell some adjacent land.
This process is under way already, he said.
"It could be assumed that the auditor's decision will come in June, then the notarial transaction can be conducted with the regional ministry, and after that we can start work immediately," Terav told AK.
The regional ministry is still to be put in place and will be the result of administrative reforms proposed by the Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition. Hitherto, regional affairs have been split mostly between the Minister of Rural Affairs, and the Minister of Public Administration.
Terav added that the new site should in any case be ready this year, and will have more scavenger-proof fencing.
Olev Kalda, head of the animal welfare and health department at the state Food and Veterinary Board (PTA) said that new information regarding the situation means that: "We will definitely review the situation at that location and also review the work organization of the company operating site."
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera'