What is the most dangerous animal on the farm?

Farmers at a recent farm safety event in Tipperary were asked by Billy Gleeson Education Officer with Teagasc ‘What is the most dangerous animal on the farm?’

After several responses of ‘the bull’ and ‘the farmer’, he said that every animal poses a risk on the farm.

“It’s not just the bull that poses the risk, every animal is a risk. Of the amount of fatal and non-fatal accidents on farms, a bull accounts for half of these.

“The others were weanlings, suckler calves and calved cows.

“The number of farmers who are experienced and go in to tag a calf and pay no attention to the risk involved…they probably do so without looking where the cow is.”

He also said that a dog or a mouse can cause animals to stampede and people have been knocked down by animals.

Gleeson said that the key message is that every animal represents a risk to you.

Also speaking at the farm safety event was Marcella Phelan, also an Education Officer with Teagasc.

She said that there is a safety risk with calved cows that farmers need to be agile, competent and know what they’re doing around them.

Speaking about farm accidents involving children, she said that it is thought that children are involved in machinery accidents more because they are afraid of livestock and more interested in machinery.

Phelan advised farmers that un-reported incidents can lead to other issues down the line, like aches, pains and arthritis.

If you’re working with cattle on the farm, the HSA advises that you should always:

  • Work out an escape route or refuge area in advance of working with the cattle.
  • Know and understand the basics of cattle behaviour.
  • Make sure persons handling cattle are competent and agile.
  • Use bulls that produce docile offspring.
  • Be careful around cows that are calving or with new-born calves as they are more likely to attack.
  • Watch for warning signs of animal aggressiveness and cull fractious and difficult cattle.
  • Exercise cation when administrating veterinary treatments.