How many cattle were listed as missing or stolen last year?

A total of 987 cattle were reported missing by Irish farmers in 2020, with a further 95 cattle reported stolen – amounting to 1,082 animals either missing or stolen last year, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

48 of the animals reported missing were recovered, while just two of the animals thought to be stolen were retrieved, the department added.

More than half of the animals reported to the Department of Agriculture as missing – some 62% or 608 cattle – were of a beef breed, with the remaining 379 deemed to be dairy breeds.

A similar story was seen with the animals reported as stolen to the department (61%) where 58 of the 95 cattle were beef breeds and the remaining 37 dairy breeds.

The department provided a breakdown of cattle stolen by county based on data extracted from the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system on December 9, 2020.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine explained: “When cattle are found to be missing or stolen the owner/keeper of the animals should notify the appropriate Regional Veterinary Office [RVO] of the event in writing.

“The RVO subsequently liaises with the department’s AIM Division in ensuring that the animals are recorded as missing or stolen on the AIM system.

Records of all reported missing or stolen cattle are maintained centrally by AIM Division.

“As the theft of livestock is a criminal offence, all incidents of stolen animals should be reported to the An Garda Síochána by the relevant keeper, for investigation,” the department representative added.

“Unlike cattle, there is no requirement for farmers to record individual sheep births on the department’s Animal Identification and Movement database.

“Accordingly, information on sheep losses, including instances of sheep theft, are not recorded on the department’s systems.

“Where sheep are stolen, keepers are advised to notify the Gardaí of the details and must record the relevant information on their flock registers.”