The practice of destroying livestock on-farm following a TB outbreak has been condemned by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the matter, ICSA animal health chairman Hugh Farrell said: “This primarily concerns the destruction by shooting of calves in farmyards.

“While older cattle are removed to the factory, the calves that remain are destroyed on-site by a knackery service, a practice which can be extremely distressing for farmers,” he said.

The ICSA has received several complaints about this and we are asking the Department of Agriculture to seriously reconsider its protocols regarding this issue.

Continuing, Farrell said: “Once these animals have been commandeered by the department the onus should be on the department to remove them from the farm and dispose of them in an appropriate manner.

“The farmer should be fully compensated for the calf under the on-farm market valuation system and knackery charges should be borne by the department,” the chairman concluded.

2019 TB levels

Meanwhile, figures released by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine earlier this year show that the amount of TB reactors recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 was 400 less than the same period in 2018.

In the first Q1 2018, that number was 3,269 out of 26,304 herds tested. This figure fell to 2,863 out of 27,081 herds tested for Q1 2019.