The number of cattle slaughtered in August 2019 decreased by 17.5% when compared to the same month last year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In figures released today, it was found that the number of sheep slaughtered also fell by a hefty 15.2%; meanwhile, pig slaughterings also dropped by 5.1%.

According to the CSO, some 135,200 head of cattle were slaughtered in August 2019; this is down substantially on the 163,800 animals killed in August 2018. Meanwhile, in the same month in 2017, 161,600 cattle were killed.

In a similar trend, some 287,000 sheep were slaughtered last month – a much lower figure than the 338,300 recorded for the same period last year. 312,300 sheep were killed in August 2017.

Meanwhile, the CSO figures reveal that 286,300 pigs were killed in August just gone. The figures for August 2018 and 2017 are: 301,600 pigs and 292,300 pigs respectively.

Much of the fall in figures for animals slaughtered last month can be attributed to farmer protests which were ongoing for much of the month of August.

Initially kicking off in Bandon, Co. Cork, on July 28, demonstrations of one form or another only came to a halt following meetings last weekend.

On a broader scale, a CSO comparison of figures for slaughterings from January to August 2019 with the corresponding period of 2018 shows mixed results.

Cattle slaughterings actually increased over this time by 1.8%.

However, both sheep and pig numbers fell; sheep slaughterings decreased by 6.4%; while pig slaughterings dropped by 0.5% over the eight-month period.