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Forestry Police Accused of Being Overzealous

The Forestry Police announced on Monday that they had seized seven sheep in Curral das Freiras, as the animals were trespassing and grazing in a dangerous area.

Today, the Agroecological and Silvo-Pastoral Association of the Autonomous Region of Madeira issued a statement that accuses the Forestry Police of being overzealous in their duties.

The statement signed by the president, José Manuel Gomes, indicates that the “Forestry Police invaded private property and confiscated seven sheep who were peacefully grazing in a fenced off area in the parish of Curral das Freiras. An action that was undertaken with a court order or any effort on behalf of the police to find out who the animals belonged to.”

Warming to his theme, he went on to say that the lack of leadership from the top is lamentable and that the Secretary for the Environment is treating the mountains of Madeira as her own, and not the property of the people who farm them. Many of the problems, he says, have arisen from the integration of other forces within the Forestry Police which has fractured its effectiveness, leading to an auxiliary police corps.

“The methods and public posture of an auxiliary police corps are at the very least irregular and uneven, with regard to the rules of a democratic state where the values and principles of respect for the citizen and his property are constitutionally defended. “Do not forget that these people have been responsible for the slaughter and random disposal of animal carcasses in the Deserta Islands and mountains of Madeira.”

“Therefore with their blatant disregard for private property and the theft of seven sheep who were not in danger, the association will file a judicial complaint for abuse of authority and lack of legal competence in police acts of seizure, a function that can only be carried out by criminal police agencies, of which the Forestry Police are not!”

Of course, the main question is, where are the sheep? Sheep are not cheap and a friend of mine had to pay €100 in compensation when her dog accidentally killed one.

Samantha Gannon

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