More than 100 cows on a Jersey dairy farm have fallen ill and died since Thursday (December 15), the Jersey government has said today (Monday, December 19).

Environment Minister, Jonathan Renouf, said it is unclear what led to the “devastating loss”.

Samples from the feed and the animals have been sent for analysis to help determine the cause of this sickness and death. Analysis of the samples “can take around a week due (to) its specialist nature”, Minister Renouf said.

The dead cattle have been taken to the Animal Carcass Incinerator, the government said.

Cattle in a separate part of the herd on the same farm – Woodlands Farm, which is run by the Le Boutillier family – have been unaffected.

“I’m reassured to hear that no milk from the specifically affected sub-herd has entered the food chain, and that every precaution has been taken to safeguard public and animal health,” the minister added.

“Discussions are underway about how best to dispose of the milk currently in storage.

“I’m thankful to the local vets, Government of Jersey officials, and fellow farmers who have responded over the past few days.

“Colleagues from the states veterinary team, operations and transport, regulation, and public health have been liaising closely through the weekend, and we’ve also had support from the states vet in Guernsey.”

Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley, added: “Islanders can be reassured that there is no risk to health, as milk is being disposed of.

“We’re working with colleagues across government and the situation will be monitored closely over the next couple of days.”

Loss of 100 cows in Jersey ‘devastating’

Eamon Fenlon, managing director of Jersey Dairy, dairy producers for the island, said he was “totally devastated” by what happened to the cows.

“Losing a part of a herd like this is heartbreaking. We can’t imagine how difficult this is for Charlie (farmer), his family and all at Woodlands,” he said.

“Words cannot express the heartache we feel for them, and we cannot begin to understand the shock that they must be feeling.

“We hope they can find the strength and guidance to bring them through this difficult and tragic time.

“We are very grateful to all who rallied around over the weekend to help at Woodlands in this time of need. It was heartening to see that community spirit.

“Investigations are continuing to determine the root cause of what has happened at Woodlands. We know that it is an isolated incident and that no other farms are affected.”