The number of cattle slaughtered in Ireland rose by 1.7% in the first quarter of this year when compared with corresponding figures for 2023 according to latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Cattle slaughterings from January to March were estimated to be more than 483,000 head – a jump of more than 8,000 head compared to the same period in 2023.

But while there was an increase in the number of cattle slaughtered in the first quarter there was a decline in both sheep and pig slaughterings in the first three months of the year, latest figures show.

Source: CSO

Sheep slaughterings fell by around 13,000 head (1.7%) to just under 748,500 head in the first quarter of the year when compared with the same three months in 2023.

Pig slaughterings were also estimated to drop to just under 836,000 head for January to March 2024, down nearly 14,000 heads (1.6%) on the same period in 2023.

The latest CSO statistics are based on figures from slaughterings at both meat establishments approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and slaughterhouses and meat plants approved by Local Authorities.


According to Mairead Griffin, statistician in the CSO agriculture accounts and production section, specific figures for the month of March 2024 highlight a trend in relation to overall slaughter numbers.

“Cattle slaughterings dropped by 7.4% to just over 153,000 head in March 2024 when compared with March 2023.

“During the same period, the number of sheep slaughtered fell by 5.5% to approximately 271,000 head, while pig slaughterings were down by 8.2% to almost 274,000 head,” she outlined.

Source: CSO

Bord Bia

Meanwhile latest figures from Bord Bia show that there were 34,425 cattle processed in DAFM approved plants during the week ending April, 13 2024 – which takes throughput for the year so far to 529,442 head.

This represents a 14,293  head or 11% increase on the corresponding period for 2023 when a total of 515,149 cattle were processed. 

According to Bord Bia there have been 375,573 prime cattle processed in the first 15 weeks of 2024 which is a 3% increase – 10,960 head – from the same period last year

“Cow throughput has remained strong with 130,494 cows processed so far this year, a notable increase of 16,527 head (13%),” it detailed.