Barnsley Animal Health Officers are receiving increasing levels of complaints that members of the public are visiting farm gates where animals are grazing to feed them kitchen scraps.
This is a highly dangerous and illegal activity which is likely to result in the spread of disease and enforced slaughter of these animals.
Officers who visited one site in the borough on Tuesday this week were shocked to find dozens of parents, grandparents and carers bringing their children to the location with bags of food.
Barnsley Director of Public Health, Julia Burrows, said: “People might see this activity as a fun way to keep children entertained, without fully appreciating the consequences of their actions.
“Diseases such as African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth can be spread via this type of feeding, which is why kitchen waste must never be fed to farmed animals.
“These diseases cause not only cause significant animal health and welfare problems and damage to the economy, in a time when many farms and smallholdings may already be suffering financially due to the pandemic.
“The risk is so great that were an animal to become infected in this way, hundreds of animals within a 10-kilometre area would also have to be slaughtered.
“While it’s great that people are getting out in the fresh air, please do so safely and legally.”
People are also asked not to feed treats such as carrots and apples to horses as it can interfere with their diet and cause a number of health problems.
If anyone has concerns about an animal welfare issue, they can report it using our online form or call Barnsley Council on 01226 773555.
The Department for Education has plenty of suggestions for safe activities to do during lockdown, with a #LockdownActivityList in partnership with Parentkind.