Last week the Board of Health canceled its meeting, which had been scheduled to follow up on reports of disturbing and unsanitary conditions at Oliveira Farm, which is located on Marston St. in Tewksbury. Prior to that scheduled meeting, town authorities stepped in to suspend permits and require all animals to be removed.
As of now, that suspension is indefinite. The owners may reapply for permits if they correct all deficiencies and comply with requirements, including working with a consultant to produce an operations manual for the farm and slaughterhouse operation and filing regular progress reports.
Thus far, none of that has been done. Residents may recall that owner Dinis Oliveira and an employee were charged in 2019 with egregious animal cruelty. That case is ongoing. And at an Aug. 27 meeting, which is available on Tewksbury TV, Tewksbury animal control officer Christine Gaultieri told the BoH that she had observed animals without food and water and living in unsanitary conditions, as well as deceased animals. At that time, town counsel advised against shutting down the operation.
At tonight’s meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public, the Board of Health will hear a report on the situation at the facility. Also on the agenda are updates on a public health excellence grant and pending hire of a food safety consultant, an update on Covid levels in Tewksbury and a discussion of mosquito spraying in town.
While there is no scheduled opportunity for residents to address the board, the chair may at his discretion allow residents in attendance to speak.
The Tewksbury Board of Health meets tonight, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall; the meeting will also be shown on Tewksbury TV’s YouTube channel.