A TYNEDALE farmer is urging visitors to the countryside not to feed livestock and wildlife after recently losing six breeding ewes as a result.

Annabelle Morshead, who farms at Langley, near Haydon Bridge, is backing the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging visitors to the countryside not to feed livestock and also encouraging those that live in the countryside and surrounds not to dispose of their garden waste which could be eaten by livestock.

It comes after she lost ewes after they consumed poisonous garden waste which was left in a field where her sheep were feeding.

She said: “Visitors and even those residing in the countryside are often unaware of the consequences of how sensitive sheep are to plants such as milkweed, ragwort, morning glory and common nightshade, whether plant waste is innocently disposed of or whether it is randomly fly-tipped in the vicinity where livestock are feeding.”

“For me personally, it was a devastating to have to cull animals due to their suffering as a result of ingesting poisonous materials. With a bit more awareness, this situation could have been averted.”

Horses, sheep, cattle, pigs and chickens, as well as wild animals, have specific dietary requirements, and what is edible for humans can be deadly if consumed by animals.

Most pet owners are aware that they should never feed their animals certain products such as chocolate, grapes and garlic, and the same is true of livestock.

It is illegal for keepers of livestock, whether as farmed animals or pets, to feed their animals catering or kitchen waste, including meat and related products, as this can prevent the introduction of potentially notifiable diseases such as African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease.