Department now publishing feedlot kill on monthly basis
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has now started publishing the number of cattle killed at EU approved slaughter plants originating from ‘Controlled Finishing Units’.
The figures from these units – also known as department defined ‘restricted feedlots’ (see definition below) – show that in January and February of this year, some 28,000 and 26,000 animals were slaughtered, respectively.
The extent of ‘feedlot cattle’ contribution to last year’s total annual kill was highlighted by this publication last December.
An analysis of Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine statistics revealed that an estimated 315,722 cattle – originating from department-defined restricted feedlots – were slaughtered at department-approved beef exporting plants up to and including the week ending December 16, 2018.
This figure represents approximately 18% of the total national beef kill up to and including that date.
Department-defined (restricted) feedlots (i.e. those that meet the aforementioned criteria) could include factory-owned, factory-contracted (but privately-owned) or independent farmer-owned feedlot operations.
According to the department, under the TB programme, a feedlot herd comprises a ‘non-breeding’ unit which disposes of all cattle direct for slaughter and fulfills at least one of the following three criteria: cattle are permanently housed (never on pasture); there are no adjoining holdings/lands with cattle; and boundaries are walled, double fenced or equivalent to prevent any direct contact with cattle on neighbouring lands/premises/holdings.
Factory owned/controlled operations
Earlier this year, Cormac Healy senior director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) stated that approximately 5% of the total annual beef kill originates specifically from factory-owned or factory-controlled feedlots.
While it has been confirmed that approximately 5% of the annual kill is coming from factory-owned or factory-controlled feedlots – around 90,000 head – it is still unclear as to what percentage is derived from factory-contracted feedlots.
The department has made the figures available online through its website.